Russians in DC to See US Democracy Are Not Impressed
Exchange program backfires
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2013 5:12 PM CDT
The dome of the US Capitol is seen in Washington.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Newser) – A group of 49 Russians is in DC as part of a US-funded exchange program to witness American democracy in action. Just one problem: There's very little action right now. "This step, to shut down the government, is inconceivable," says one Russian journalist. "French people are said to be the most freedom-loving [people]. Even the French wouldn’t be able to do such things." Ouch. Ironically, the Open World Leadership Center, which runs the exchange, still has enough of its $8 million annual funding to keep the Russians here, despite the shutdown, reports the Washington Post. It just doesn't have a lot to show them.

They haven't been able to organize many meetings, because so many staffers are furloughed. They haven't been to the museums, because they're closed. And their lectures are taking place in an Embassy Suites, rather than the Library of Congress. One Russian teacher jokes that DC is actually running surprisingly well without a government—a situation really more akin to socialism than democracy. "Maybe you will come to communism soon!” he says. “No government ... but people are still managing!”

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Oct 14, 2013 11:30 AM CDT
The United States of America -- the Great Experiment in democracy with great political and humanitarian values for which the world will remember it in hindsight as world leadership passes to another quarter; on the other had, a dismal failure that degenerated into a do-nothing, dead-locked, two-party political system fueled by big-money interests of the Military-Industrial-Congressional and a Congress no longer in touch with the common good of the American people. Sort of reminds me of what led us to the Revolutionary War. Our only hope is to renovate Congress and tear down the rubber walls off of which the politicians merrily bounce deals while being insulated from the sound of the American people outside. Does anyone see any glimmer of hope out there?
Oct 14, 2013 9:29 AM CDT
You people haven't a clue !! This is how it works: The Dems will spend us into prosperity. Once we are all millionaires we no longer have to worry to pay it back because we owe it to ourselves! GET IT NOW ?? Whoooopppeee ! Hand me the tequila, Vato.
Oct 13, 2013 5:55 PM CDT
They need to set off across the country to see how you can move from state to state without checkpoints on interstate highways, requirements for regional travel permits, and drivers license for the region you wish to travel in.