Nr 94/95 • Juuni 2011

Boris Nemtsov: “If Putin Becomes President, Russia Will Have No Hope for Democracy.”

The discussions at one of the sessions at this year’s Lennart Meri Conference focused on the situation in Russia, its changing role in global politics and the developments concerning the upcoming presidential elections in 2012. At this session, former Russian Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov underlined the fact that Russia’s future depended on the bravery of President Medvedev. Nemtsov’s hopes – and certainly not only his – were pinned on the president’s grand press conference on May 18, which was expected to bring nothing more and nothing less than the dismissal of Prime Minister Putin from his office.

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Political Order in Egypt

While academic political science has not had much to tell policymakers of late, there is one book that stands out as being singularly relevant to the events currently unfolding in Tunisia, Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries: Samuel Huntington’s Political Order in Changing Societies, first published over forty years ago. Huntington was one of the last social scientists to try to understand the linkages between political, economic and social change in a comprehensive way, and the weakness of subsequent efforts to maintain this kind of large perspective is one reason we have such difficulties, intellectually and in policy terms, in keeping up with our contemporary world.

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Summary

This issue of Diplomaatia reflects upon the themes of the Lennart Meri Conference that took place in Tallinn on May 13-15. The first three essays were published in English in Diplomaatia’s LMC special issue in May, two more expose the views of some conference guests and some other articles are connected with the main themes discussed at the conference. The conference this year was titled “Making values count”, which is also the title of the opening essay by journalist Edward Lucas. In it, he argues that Estonia, now that it finally can make its own decisions instead of just fulfilling criteria dictated by others, should not forget the democratic values that made its freedom possible.

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