Larisa, doing KremlinWatch duty:
Condoleezza Rice is supposed to have been (perhaps in another life) a Soviet expert (who apparently does not speak Russian well). Ms. Rice finally noticed the rise of the new Stalinist era in Russia and its influence over republics of the former Soviet Union:When an emigre from the former Soviet Union - Larisa - says that, it has added oomph, I feel.
"The Russian government under Vladimir Putin has amassed so much central authority that the power-grab may undermine Moscow's commitment to democracy, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday.
"In any country, if you don't have countervailing institutions, the power of any one president is problematic for democratic development," she told reporters after meeting with human-rights activists.
"I think there is too much concentration of power in the Kremlin ... Everybody has doubts about the full independence of the judiciary. There are clearly questions about the independence of the electronic media and there are, I think, questions about the strength of the Duma," she said, referring to the Russian parliament."
The irony of course - aside from the obvious sudden realization that should have been a US priority a long time ago - is that Rice appears to not apply those same questions to her own country.