I've started watching the documentary series, Facing... on the National Geographic Channel. The two episodes I've seen so far were about former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, and Russian President, Vladimir Putin.
There is little doubt that Saddam was a cruel and oppressive ruler. Iraq has become more dangerous since he was toppled in 2003, and the situation there seems very grave indeed. The Iraqi government has a tenuous grip on the country, and Islamic State is a serious threat to the security of the region.
As for Putin, he has used the Russian secret police and intelligence agencies to kill or imprison his opponents. After first being President between 2000 and 2008, He is now back in office for the second time, and according to some international relations experts interviewed for the programme, it is highly possible that he will have the Russian constitution amended to enable him to stay in office indefinitely. The promise of Russian democracy after the end of the Communist era has evaporated.
It makes me count my blessings that I live in Australia, which for the most part is free, peaceful, and has a democratic government.