In This Review

Russia's Road to Deeper Democracy
Russia's Road to Deeper Democracy
By Tom Bjorkman
Brookings Institution Press, 2003, 141 pp

On the question of Russia's progress toward democracy, put Bjorkman on the side of those who see the glass as half empty. Put him also in the smaller group that views this midcourse stall as unstable and, more important, as unnecessary. He argues that neither a wealth of polling data nor the logic of the regime's conflicted orientation justifies its attachment to "managed democracy." The data, when properly sifted, show that a majority of Russians -- including a putatively more conservative elite -- want change, prefer democracy to authoritarianism, and have made democratic values their own. Nor can Russia hope to succeed with liberal economic reform and integration into global economic institutions while retreating from democratic forms. It takes strong, committed leadership to point the way, aided by a vigorous U.S. commitment to Russia's economic integration. On both counts, of course, there's the rub.