Medvedev's victory has been scorned by critics as a triumph of "managed democracy," a system that reached its climax under [Vladimir Putin], in which the Kremlin defines the political agenda, stage-manages the process and mobilizes the population to validate the whole exercise with their votes. As one Moscow journalist, Sergei Strokan, remarked, "Putin could have nominated his dog, and it would be duly elected and inaugurated as president.""It's true that we have some permitted outlets which are useful for the authorities to prove that there's freedom of the press in Russia," says Viktor Shenderovich, creator of the political satire program Kukli, which was driven off the air about a year after Putin came to power in 2000. Shenderovich now has a weekly commentary show on Ekho Moskvi. "We're like the inmates of an insane asylum," he says, "who are allowed to come out and shout a bit while our doctors take notes, then we're led back to our cells.""We do not call it 'managed democracy.' For us, that term is a propaganda defamation," says Gleb Pavlovsky, head of the Moscow-based Effective Policy Foundation and longtime political adviser to the Kremlin, who is widely regarded as one of the systems primary architects. "The system created under Putin is as democratic as it can possibly be, given the real state of our society," he says.
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