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The Forum > Article Comments > A touchstone time for Russia > Comments

A touchstone time for Russia : Comments

By Jeff Schubert, published 8/11/2006

Putin should step down in 2008 to bring an end to 100 years of extremism in Russia.

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I don't with Jeff but offer the following observations.
1. Russia has never experienced Western-style democracy, with all its faults, weaknesses and greatness.
2. The communist era was an interlude in Tsarist rule - in name only - it was imperialism under the red flag. Putinisation of Russia is continuation of Tsarist objectives.
3. Outside Moscow and St Petersberg, the glitz wears off quickly. Recent travellers tell of a nostalgia for Stalin and the busts of Lenin remain untouched.
4. Putin is of the KGB and rules by placing old comrades in key positions. There is talk of re-erecting the statue of "Iron Feliks" Dzherzinskiy, founder of the KGB back in the square named in his "honour."
5. The Soviet intelligence apparatus has continued foreign espionage with scarcely a break in step, although expulsion from Western countries barely make news.
6. While the masses groan under economic pressure, the mafia is allied to the Soviet government and as recent events have shown, the price of investigative journalism is death.
7. Many respected Western commentators suggested post-Yeltsin that Russia would need
a Pinochet-style regime, merely to govern. They have that with the secret police, murder, dissappearings and the return of gulags.
8. Under Putin, Russia is forming a military political alliance with the PRC under the guise of economic agreements. The strategic implications of this alliance could be severe.
9. The breakaway Islamic republics harbour terrorists and will, like the Chechens, pose an on-going threat to Moscow.
10. The West may have to totally rethink its position towards Russia. That unhappy conglomerate is neither West nor East and has to work out a suitable paradigm for modernisation. Their major export is hi-tech weaponry, another act that is risky for the US and its allies and quite possibly for Russia, in arming states that will become its enemies.
11. It is premature to talk of meaningful political and economic change in Russia. Another term by Putin will consolidate the rule of the autarchs but if he is replaced, the question is: By whom? It could well be better the devil you know.
Posted by perikles, Saturday, 11 November 2006 3:02:01 PM
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