The AP is reporting that Russian electoral officials have barred a vocal opposition alliance, called "Other Russia" (co-led by former world chess champion Garry Kasparov), from participating in December parliamentary elections. With Putin getting ready to transfer authority to a loyalist, Russia seems to be accelerating away from any sort of political liberalization. We've being seeing this movement for awhile, but barring the opposition from the ballot is the nail in the coffin.

Poor Kasparov. If it's not Big Blue, it's Big Red. Kasparov could have been his country's Václav Havel. But let's not give up hope yet -- at least there's an opposition party there, as opposed to China. Let's hope Russia doesn't ban the party altogether. If they do, I hope Europeans demonstrate the same kind of outrage they do against the U.S. on a regular basis.