- By Leon AronLeon Aron is the director of Russian studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the author, most recently, of Roads to the Temple: Truth, Memory, Ideas, and Ideals in the Making of the Russian Revolution, 1987-1991.
The following is a guest post from Leon Aron, director of Russian studies at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.
Suddenly there is a tiny bright spot on the decidedly bleak social canvass of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. For the first time in history, the Russians will be able to turn right on red.
To be sure, after a year and half of discussions, it is still an "experiment," confined to only a few intersections in Moscow and the southwestern city of Belgorod. Yet amid Putinism’s increasingly rigid dichotomies and the state’s relentless strangulation and subversion of independent civil society institutions, first and foremost NGOs, the government ceding at least one iota of decision-making to its citizens by leaving it up to them to interpret the law and make their own choices is something to cheer.
Besides, one of the Moscow intersections at which the experiment is taking place is Andropov Prospekt, named after the Soviet Union’s longest-serving KBG chief and general secretary from 1982 to 1984.
Go right on red, Russia! Go right on red!