Exchanging Freedom For Security and Food

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In response to "Eagerly Waiting for Change -- Within Russia," a column by Yevgeny Kiselyov on Nov. 6.

Editor,

I agree there is room for improvement in Russia's version of democracy, but most Russians are willing to exchange freedom of speech for a full plate and personal security.

But I assure you that this is not a uniquely Russian trait. It is shared by almost everyone, including in the West. Remember, for example, what happened after Sept. 11 and the Muslim-phobia that followed?

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is far from being a model democrat. But Boris Yeltsin, who was often praised in the West as a democrat, was a complete failure as president.

Democracy is built step-by-step. It is a evolutionary process, and Russia has shown progress. It has passed the point where a Stalinist or a populist buffoon could be elected president. Let's give Dmitry Medvedev a chance and see what he can offer in terms of democratizing the country.

Mladen Matosevic
Helsinki

Editor,


After reading Kiselyov's comment, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that press freedom in Russia has not been completely suppressed, despite Putin's best efforts.


Paul Zazulak
Toronto

"No" to Saber-Rattling

Editor,


Moscow assumes that U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is inexperienced and unwilling to "play hardball." It couldn't be more wrong. He is a force to be reckoned with.

If Moscow threatens the United States, Obama will push back. If Moscow is looking to negotiate with Washington, it would do well to refrain from saber-rattling.

It is often said that the United States needs a good war to pull itself out of economic hard times. World War II helped the country pull out of the Great Depression. Many of us do not want to go that route again. Guns for butter? Let's just say no.

Barbara Bryant
Alexandria, Virginia

Editor,


President Medvedev needs to understand that with the election of Barack Obama, this is a rare opportunity to create a truly safer and more humane world. And the beauty of this is that it advances all of our national interests.

When Medvedev threatened to deploy missiles in Kaliningrad, located between U.S. allies Lithuania and Poland, the day after Obama was elected, it was another flawed attempt at muscle-flexing. Medvedev should try a little harder to be a global leader.

Chip Steiner
Fort Collins, Colorado