Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Boris Yeltsin, Russian Father of Democracy, dies

Boris Yeltsin, the man who heroically stood on a tank one day in 1991 and declared the USSR (and, subsequently, almost all Communism around the world) extinct, has finally passed away.

Yeltsin will be forever remembered for that. But he will be remembered for lots of over things as well-among them, his eccentric behaviour. He was the very first Russian leader to resign from office. And yesterday, his life finally came to an end.

So, what's going on in Russia today? Unfortunately, after Communism fell rather quickly, Russia has become a somewhat fascist state. Many Russians feel they are worse off now than under the USSR.

However, the situation of the Russian Federation is hardly a failure of Capitalism and Democracy. Russia ranked only a pitiful 131st on the Heritage Foundation's list of most Economically Free Nations. Compare that to what is easily the most well-off former USSR state, Estonia that came 12th. Russia lacks basic property-rights and doesn't have a properly organised bearaucracy, compared to Estonia, of which is also much more smaller. Russia is also plagued with corruption, which is anything but a Free-Market institution.

If Russia needs to get ahead, it needs to grant basic property rights, and gets it's government in order. Estonia, which was in fact built off Milton Friedman's ideas in his book Free to Choose as former PM Mart Laar says, would be an excellent example.

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