Solzhenitsyn on Democracy

A quote from Alexander Solzhenitsyn on Russian television, 5 June 2005

If there is parliament, the argument goes, democracy is assured. But what is parliament and what is it for? It is people’s representation, and it should be truly representing the people. People’s representatives should represent their electorate and no one else. […] What do we see in France? Their political class was molding and molding this Constitution and was confident of it. But the people said no. The referendum expressed the will of the people. A wonderful effect. […]

If we admire democracy in Western countries, it is because their local self-government is performing beautifully. That is why. They would never have had democracy without local government. […] Starting from the first day of the Gorbachev era, and onward and onward. We have never had democracy. I have repeated many times, we don’t have even a semblance of democracy. […]

America now – in fact, for more than ten years now – has been carried away by a harebrained project or impulse: to impose democracy throughout the world. To impose it. And they set about doing it with a vengeance. First, they staged a bloodbath in Bosnia. Then they bombed Yugoslavia. In Afghanistan they claim to have installed democracy, and in Iraq too. Iraq is a great success in democracy. Who is next? Maybe Iran. This is just amazing. There are thinkers, free thinkers there. They understand that democracy cannot be imposed from without. A democracy that is sustained by bayonets isn’t worth a penny.