Novgorod Republic was the most egalitarian and democratic state in the world, until the American Revolution in subsequent centuries.  The Croatian Ragusan Republic, although not as free as Novgorod, was otherwise still superior to most of Europe.

The Zaporozhe Sich was quite similiar, too; as was the Polish Commonwealth.  Likewise, the USSR rode on / manipulated the egalitarian spirit of Slavs.  If you carefully read into Western European history, you'ld realize that they had both more tyrannical governments and policies (serfdom occured longer; albeit ended sooner, even though Slavs' serfdom was continued by German or crypto-Germanic kings like the Hapsburg / Romanovs).

Especially with multiculturalism and reverse discrimination in the west, I would almost wager at times that the West can be more oppressive than the East (in a few years, I reckon this will be more painfully obvious).

Vladimir Putin is a Germanophile and like the old Tsar, would probably love to re-enact serfdom.  The man was an immense failure in some sense that his regime has been extended through the price of oil and nothing else.

Which is unfortunate, because if Russia had Belarus' per capita level of industry, the Russian export economy would no doubt be rivaling Germany.