It is an increasingly common occurrence for repressive countries with dismal human rights records to put themselves forward as hosts for major international forums—whether in the sphere of sports and entertainment or in politics.
When Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin announced last week that he intended—and had always intended—to return to the presidency, he effectively tore down a flimsy veil of constitutional rectitude that had separated Russia from the autocracies of Central Asia. For over four years, Russians were invited to believe that unlike the perpetual presidents in those countries, their leader would uphold the rule of law and make way for new blood in the form of his chosen successor, Dmitri Medvedev. Now, however, it appears that Medvedev’s entire presidency was an artifice designed to circumvent the ban on more than two consecutive terms.
Guided by the findings of our surveys and reports, as well as the experiences of our staff members and partners in the field, Freedom House has decided to launch a new blog that will offer comment and analysis on the state of, threats to, and prospects for global democracy. We are pleased to welcome you to the inaugural post of Freedom at Issue.