Speaking with CNN about pro-democracy revolts in the Middle East and Northern Africa, Havel went on to point out that democracy is still fragile on the European Union’s eastern borders. He described Russia, Belarus and Ukraine as “dictatorships in gloves.”
“I think that the authoritarian elements that we can observe in Russia and in a much worse way in Belarus and now in a certain way in Ukraine are of a different nature than the pure totalitarian system as we remember it,” Havel said.
Havel added: “They are different because they are more sophisticated and are motivated by economic interests. It’s a dictatorship in gloves. But it is also necessary to come to terms with this. I would say it’s a typical post-communist phenomenon.”