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PostIs Putin a Dictator? (Istvan Simon, USA, 07/09/18 10:30 am)
Eugenio Battaglia often says truly amazing, and in my view, false statements.
In Eugenio's post of July 6th he praises Daniel Pipes and affirms that Putin is not a dictator. I will not comment much on Pipes, who seems to me a bit obsessed in "saving" Europe from Muslim immigration. Though this is a popular point of view in some quarters, it reminds me of Germany in the 1970s which at the time had a major wave of Muslim immigration from Turkey as guest workers. That generation has been completely absorbed in German society. and I do not think that it caused any major problems for Germany. I think that it seems likely that similarly the current wave will not cause major problems either, though of course German authorities need to be alert about the ultra-religious right-wing terrorism that some Muslim immigrants espouse. They seem to be a small minority of the immigrants, and if their radical preachers are stopped, the minority will cease to be a problem in the long run.
As for Putin, of course he is a dictator. It is truly amazing that Eugenio does not think so. To begin with elections in Russia are a ridiculous mockery, because opposition is suppressed, and TV is completely dominated by Putin. By denying the opposition a voice, Putin keeps being re-elected. Opposition candidates are exiled or murdered outright in plain sight. Thus there is no viable opposition to Putin, and his crimes are not even discussed on TV. I have met many Russians that frankly say that they all hate Putin, but the domination of the press makes their voices unheard.
He is completely corrupt, a multi-billionaire, which he did not become from his government salary. He is also ruthless. Just today it was in the news that his nerve agent caused a completely innocent woman to lose her life in the UK. In my opinion Great Britain and all other European countries and the United States and Canada should break diplomatic relations with Russia in protest.
JE comments: I see dictatorship along a spectrum, from the Stalin or Saddam Hussein word-is-law absolute to the "democratic" dictatorships of a Maduro or (yes) Putin. The latter group maintains the window dressing of parliaments and regular elections--but how significant is the difference in reality? "Democratic" dictatorships might even be more nefarious, precisely because they can wrap themselves in the mantle of democracy.
Returning to the Turkish Gastarbeiters of the 1960s and '70s: weren't they largely secular, and therefore more likely to assimilate? I hope Yusuf Kanli will comment.