All that you mention, and much more a patriarch than the democrat he pretended to be. My own (negative) view of the man -particularly in relation to his predecessor- is obviously skewed by my nationality, but I don't imagine too many will join you in your tears. Given all this, care to tell us why you will shed any?
Politics was never banned per se. It's just that many people seem to be unable to talk about it in a civilized manner, thus those discussions have tended to be moderated more heavily and trashed sooner.
Any further discussion of this should go into a new thread in the JavaRanch forum, where site policies are discussed.
To reiterate: any further discussion of "is politics banned in MD?" should go in the JavaRanch forum. Specifically, this thread. The chance of this thread here surviving much longer is fairly small, given its nature, but it will be better if people read the simple requests made by moderators here. Thank you.
It was a tragic situation in Russia. My impression is that Boris Yeltzin tried to make things better, but he had a very difficult task on his hands. I believe that societies operate like living organisms, and surgical change, no matter how necessary, is always hazardous.
Anyone can speculate as to what sort of policy might have worked better, but considering the optimism people had for the original Russian revolution (and the resulting crushed hopes) there's no guarantee that our prescriptions would have proven any less disastrous.