Progress in Russia

May 20, 1999

This is an excerpt of an editorial published Tuesday in Tages-Anzeiger of Zurich, Switzerland.

WHO is to blame? In Russian history, so rich in tragedy, this question is asked again and again. Because the individual was not ready to assume the responsibility, the questions could also be suppressed in the collectivity. Nobody was called to account.

In the debate over impeaching President Boris Yeltsin, the Russian parliament was again asking the question "Who is to blame?" This time it was over the responsibility for the emotions and mistakes of the previous 10 years: the breakup of the Soviet Union, the war against Chechnya, the failed economic reforms.

Seen in the context of Russian history, this event is somewhat revolutionary. It was a signal that a future president will no longer simply be able to do what he wants. His actions must be transparent and controllable.

In the past 10 years, there have been few bright spots in Russia. The failed attempt to impeach Mr. Yeltsin is, in spite of everything, a step forward.

Pub Date: 5/20/99

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