Arab Spring has led to chaos rather than democracy – Russian Duma deputy

Alexei Pushkov file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 4, 2013) The ongoing events in Egypt confirm that the so-called Arab Spring has led not to democratic renewal but to chaos, says Russian State Duma international affairs committee head Alexei Pushkov.

“The events in Egypt show that there can’t be a quick and gentle transition from an authoritarian regime to political democracy. There can’t be such a transition in the Arab East countries,” Pushkov told Interfax early on Thursday.

“This shows that democracy doesn’t work as a panacea primarily in countries that do not belong to the Western world. This is a very difficult, long and painful process affecting economic development and social conditions. In other words, the Arab Spring has so far led not to democracy but to chaos. We can see this in Egypt, in Libya, in Syria, and in Iraq,” he said.

As for Iraq, it is apparently slipping into a new religious-ethnic war, Pushkov said. “It is absolutely obvious now that the processes unfolding in Syria and this war between the Sunnis and the Shiites are spilling over into Iraq,” he said.

Pushkov pointed out that Muhammed Morsi had been elected president of Egypt about a year ago.

“It never happens in a democratic society that the electorate’s attitudes could change so radically in a year. Morsi has not done anything that could lead to such changes,” Pushkov said.

“If a president elected by an overwhelming majority a year ago is overthrown, this shows that elections, as a mechanism of determining the people’s will, do not work properly in such countries, that a host of purely emotional factors affect elections, and that elections are not a way to have a legitimate government in these volatile systems,” he said.

It is logical that the army has once again acted as a guarantor of structural changes in Egypt, just as it happened under Hosni Mubarak, Pushkov said.

“Therefore, it seems to me that what is happening in Egypt is a blow to the myth that the Arab countries are ready for democracy. Second, this continues the chaotic process of changes with unpredictable consequences, which very negatively affects Egypt’s economy, in particular,” he said.

This also sends a bad signal to the entire region, because Egypt is a pillar of the Arab world, and instability in this country spreads into other countries, Pushkov said.

“That is, after Mubarak’s era in Egypt, Gaddafi’s in Libya, Saleh’s in Yemen, and Ben Ali’s in Tunisia, which lasted from 20 to 40 years and was marked by a high level of regional stability and quite high economic development rates, we have come to a period of absolute chaos in this region’s development,” he said.

“This ghost of democracy slipping away from the Arab East’s peoples costs them a lot. It seems to me Egypt fully confirms this,” Pushkov said.