Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Remember Yeltsin? (and understanding the root of the Naxal violence)

When the democratically elected parliament of Russia was attacked by tanks and burnt black by Boris Yeltsin, the western media labeled it as a victory for democracy. The country's oil and gas could be sold to Oligarchs who were owned by western businesses in a free-market. The rest of Russia went to hell.

In India, about 800 million people still live on less than a dollar a day. A vast proportion of this country is surrounded by abject poverty. These people are also sitting on natural resources like forests and mines. Poverty is a form of violence. Forgetting that these people have been at the receiving end of the poverty of violence is stupidity. To look at them as if they are the aggressors is putting the cart before the horse.

We need to understand that the mining conglomerates and Indian chaebols like Tata  are waiting on the sidelines and salivating at the prospect of receiving the land which these people protect and live on. It is these companies that will benefit when Yeltsineqeue democracy triumphs by killing and evicting the residents off their own land.

Yeltsin's "democratic" moves ensured the democracy was nipped in the bud. The "freemarket" bought the countries natural resources at throw-away prices and a vast population in Russia slipped into poverty as mines and oilfields changed hands.

The "democratic" march of Indian armed forces into vast areas of this country where the administration has no control has a simple lesson. Democracy has failed these people and continues to fail them.

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