Staunton, Jan. 15 – Often a development which seems to reverse earlier progress can serve as the basis for the ultimate triumph of what many assume had been lost forever, Abbas Gallyamov says. That was true with regard to the Dreyfus case and the rise of Zionism a century ago, and it may be the case with the Putin regime and the possibilities for democracy in Russia.
At the end of the nineteenth century, Zionism had a difficult time taking off; but the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe highlighted by the Dreyfus case in France ultimately led to the triumph of Zionism, the Russian commentator says (reforum.io/blog/2023/01/15/neozhidannaya-demokratiya-pochemu-u-rossii-vsyo-taki-est-shans/).
Putin and his assault on democracy may play a similar role, he suggests, giving Russia “a second chance,” to use Huntington’s term, in that regard precisely because the Kremlin leader’s attacks have increased the value of democracy in the eyes of many Russians. That is something everyone should remember rather than assuming that Russia can never be a democracy.
This is far from a certainty, Gallyamov concedes, but the number of cases where democracy started only to fail or be overthrown and then made a comeback is large enough that analysts and politicians should be open to the possibility that the latest attack on democracy in Russia may in fact be a precondition for its ultimate triumph.