"If Russia Had Become Democratic…."

Marc Plattner, NED’s Vice President for Research and Studies and coeditor of the Journal of Democracy, spoke with Levada Center sociologist Denis Volkov about “the essence of the Russian political order.”

Denis Volkov: What is your definition of a democratic country?


Marc Plattner: What we call “democracy” is really a shorthand for “liberal democracy.” And liberal democracy is a compound thing. It has a “liberal” part and a “majoritarian” part. The “majoritarian” part means free and fair elections. The “liberal” part has to do with protecting the rights of individuals and minorities. Not everything that the majority wants is democratic. In the very first issue of the Journal of Democracy Polish philosopher Leszek Kolakowski wrote an article titled “Uncertainties of a Democratic Age,” in which he says that we would not call it democratic if 51 percent of the population voted to put the other 49 percent to death. The whole structure of liberal democracy is based on the premise that the rights of individuals and minority groups are respected by the majority. But there is always an issue of where you draw the line… 

Read the entire interview here