The authors analyze preconditions
for recurring emergence of the problem of choice between democracy and authoritarianism
in Russia. For this purpose data are used about ideas of democracy displayed by Russians
in surveys by Institute of complex social research, Russian academy of sciences,
as well as about degree in which Russians adhere to democratic values. Specific differences
between understanding of democracy and that found in the nations of the West are
iscussed. They are rooted mainly in the fact that Russians face difficulties in finding
full-scale democracy (as well as freedoms, order or justice) in their real life.
A main factor for declining value of democratic idea in Russia today authors see
in the fact that these ideas have been 'privatized' by persons at the top of the
society. To counteract the trend equality before law and independence of the judiciary
are cited as priorities.