The September 18 Russian parliamentary (Duma) election and the November 8 U.S. elections reinforce the wisdom of Churchill’s famous quip: “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others.” Whether the establishment likes it or not, the U.S. primary campaigns have laid bare tectonic voter dissatisfaction with the status quo. Presumably, the U.S. political system will respond one way or another, perhaps with the election of an outsider. The Russian Duma elections will take place amidst a deep economic crisis according to election rules specifically designed to blunt and conceal voter disaffection. The Putin regime incurs risks with this strategy: It creates an opportunity for a political force that actually addresses the deep concerns of the people. It is virtually impossible for the cautious Putin to plan for every eventuality.
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