- By Leon AronLeon Aron is resident scholar and director of Russian studies at the American Enterprise Institute. His latest book, Roads to the Temple: Truth, Memory, Ideas, and Ideals in the Making of the Russian Revolution, 1987-1991, will be published in June.
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!
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C.| The Cable |