FACT vs. FICTION….The following is fiction. It takes place on board the Death Star in the first Star Wars movie:

GRAND MOFF TARKIN: The Imperial Senate will no longer be of any concern to us. I’ve just received word that the Emperor has dissolved the council permanently. The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away.

COMMANDER TAGGE: That’s impossible! How will the Emperor maintain control without the bureaucracy?

TARKIN: The regional governors now have direct control over territories. Fear will keep the local systems in line.

The following is fact. It is currently taking place in Moscow, the capital of the Russian Federation:

President Vladimir Putin outlined plans Monday to “radically” change the Russian political system in a way that would increase his own power, portraying the moves as a means of combating terrorism in the aftermath of this month’s deadly school seizure.

Putin’s plan would eliminate the popular election of governors and individual members of parliament. The president would appoint governors, subject to the confirmation of regional legislatures. All members of the lower house of parliament, known as the State Duma, would be drawn from party lists rather than elected in individual districts.

Elimination of the elected legislature. Direct control of regional governors. A tightening grip from the center. This does not sound much like democracy promotion to me.

George Bush had a meeting with Vladimir Putin three years ago and said, “I looked the man in the eye. I was able to get a sense of his soul.” I wonder if he still feels the same way?