Blowdryin in the wind.
Want to know which way the winds of change are blowing? All you have to do is pop in your Scorps cassette, raise your lighter, and yes, keep your eyes peeled for the latest quote from eXile arch-nemesis Michael McFaul, whitewasher and power-groveler extraordinaire. Why's that? Because McFaul can always be relied on to go the way of American power, left or right, no matter how contradictory he appears to be.
We've collected some of his rare "Then and Now" quotes to offer you a veritable power ballad of McFaul-ian riffs on the evolution of Russian democracy. What is revealed is not anything substantive about the development of Russian democracy, but rather one man's desperate attempts to play teacher's pet, first to the neo-liberal Clinton Administration, and now, to the far-right Bush Administration.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, raise your lighters up high, for you are about to witness...The Winds of Change. Notice if you will how McFaul's assessment of Russia's elections just happens to coincide with the views of [NAME OF CURRENT U.S. PRESIDENT]. So ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to...Mike "The Weathervane" McFaul!
PUTIN AND DEMOCRACY
Then (when Clinton was trying to woo Putin):
MICHAEL McFAUL: I think it is a slam dunk now that [Putin] will be elected but he will be elected because 75% of the Russian people support what he is doing...
DIMITRI SIMES: [W]e were kind of hopeful that Yeltsin's successor would be a more vigorous and dynamic version of great democrat and Sakharov. Instead we got a younger version of Uri Andropov.
MICHAEL McFAUL: There is a giant difference between Uri Andropov and Vladimir Putin in that Vladimir Putin will be elected in a free and fair election in March.
DIMITRI SIMES: I have not seen fair elections in Russia under Yeltsin.
MICHAEL McFAUL: Compared to what? Compared to Andropov and the Soviet period.
January 3, 2000 (PBS NewsHour)
Now: "The Kremlin is never serious about democracy," says Michael McFaul, a Stanford University veteran Russia expert who is now in Moscow. "They use these quasi-democratic mechanisms to achieve their political objectives, which are, first and foremost, to eliminate pluralism."
December 8, 2003 (Christian Science Monitor)
STATE INFLUENCE IN ELECTIONS
Then: "In the  presidential election, Yeltsin grossly violated the campaign finance limits, the media openly propagated Yeltsin's cause, and counting irregularities again appeared in Chechnya and some other national republics; but most agreed that these transgressions did not influence the outcome of the vote. [...]Both of these elections [for the presidency and the Duma] were relatively free and relatively fair."
Hoover Digest. 1997. No. 4
Now: "The way the state used (administrative resources) to make independent political parties weaker and the Duma more subservient is apparent," said Michael McFaul, an expert in Russian politics for the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "That, to me, is not a good sign for democracy."
December 9, 2003 (Seattle Times)
Then: "Despite all the claims of impending fraud, postponement and military coups, Russia's historic and unprecedented election for head of state happened on time, according to the law and without falsification... Russian democracy is still alive and growing... in this historic and ultimately triumphant year for democrats and democracy in Russia."
July 6, 1996 (Moscow Times)
Now: The state's use of its influence in the elections was part of the "negative trend of ... managed democracy," said Michael McFaul, a Russia expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.