Sunday, January 3, 2016

Putin's Russia Will Never Enter the 21st Century, Yakovenko Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 3 – Georgy Satarov suggested that Russia has not yet entered the 21st century and won’t do so in 2016. (See Now, Igor Yakovenko argues that “the 21st century will never come for Russia” (

            Satarov’s argument, the Russian blogger and former head of the Union of Russian Journalists says, is based on the concept of “delayed development,” the notion that “all countries are running a marathon in one direction but at different speeds and will pass similar markers: the 19th century, then the 20th, and now the 21st.”

            But, Yakovenko asks, “in what century is North Korea at the present time?” And ISIS? And Somalia and Afghanistan? “Are they also waiting for a 21st century brand of Santa Claus?” Clearly not, and “one of the important results of 2015” is that Vladimir Putin has imposed a course on Russia that more closely resembles theirs than the rest of the world.

            In the past year, he writes, “Putin designated the circle of those countries and regimes socially close to Russia: Asad’s regime, Iran, Hezbollah, and North Korea, along with the Islamic State.” And he points out those are all the allies Russia has: at present, “there aren’t any more.”

            Throughout 2015, “Russian propaganda attempted to present Putin as the chief opponent of the world hegemony of the US and a battler for a multi-polar world.” The American “’pole’” is “the anti-terrorist coalition in which all of Europe, Australia, Canada and a total of more than 60 countries are a part.”

            “Putin’s ‘anti-pole’ is Asad, the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution and Hezbollah. In economics, the US is creating a new ‘pole’: the Trans-Pacific Partnereship which includes Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and others who make up 40 percent of th world’s GDP. The Putin ‘anti-pole’ involves exporting hay to North Korea.”

            The same pattern holds in science as well, Yakovenko says. That forms a key aspect of the 21st century “into which Russia will never enter.”

            Instead, Russia remained focused on the events of the past, the millennium of St. Vladimir and the 70th anniversary of victory in World War II, and on the tools of the past, “the weapons of death: rockets, bombs and tanks.” This dependence, the blogger says, reflects Putin’s fear of time and of the historical process, one he hopes to stop by relying on geography.

            “Time is Putin’s personal enemy,” and that is why he works so hard to high the completely natural signs of aging and uses Botox. His new year’s address was truly horrific: he was a cardboard figure with no new ideas. The snowflakes fell past him. On a living human being, they would have melted, but not on Putin.

            “The main political event of the year – the murder of Boris Nemtsov – reduced to zero the shadowy chances for a relatively peaceful deconstruction of the Putin regime that the optimists had put their faith in.  This regime will not go away without blood,” Yakovenko points out.

             He continues: “In the fabric of the contemporary historical process are woven the norms of law and morality which made the contemporary world united, connected and predictable. [But] the Putin regime has broken itself out of this fabric” by passing a law saying it won’t fulfill the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.

            And “the chief cultural event of the year,” the awarding of the Nobel Prize in literature to Svetlana Aleksiyevich “symbolized the final break of the Russian language and Russian culture from all that is connected not only with Russia as a state but also with present-day Russian society.”

            “A Ukrainian-Belarusian writer” has thus emerged as “the symbol of contemporary Russian culture,” while “Mikhalkov, Kobzon and Medinsky [remain] as symbols of the contemporary culture of Putin’s Russia,” Yakovenko argues.

            By its invasion of other countries, Putin’s Russia not only has exited from the historical process of other countries but became almost completely unpredictable. And for that reason as well, it will remain backward and never enter the 21st century, at least as long as Putin and his regime remain in charge.

            Consequently, Yakovenko concludes, Russia has only one task in the year ahead: to end the rule of “the bloody ghouls” in the Kremlin who have transformed Russia into “the main bogeyman on the planet.”  The chance now exists, he says, because the ghouls themselves are doing everything to hasten their own end.

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