Saturday, May 7, 2016

Russia’s Lack of Property Rights Will Lead to Slow Disintegration of the Country, Pavlova Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 7 – US-based Russian historian Irina Pavlova quotes with approval a Russian blogger who observes that “the Chekists have finally finished off Mother Russia. There will not be any revolutions, bloody risings and terrible social crises. [Instead,] Russia will slowly and over decades sink into a swamp until it finally falls apart.”

            “The first cause” of this, the anonymous Russian blogger continues, again with Pavlova’s approval, is the lack of an established system of private property “as the main ‘buckle’ of the entire Russian state” and consequently the lack of the most important foundation stone of a legal and democratic state (

            Russia has undergone “privatization” but it has not set up a system which defends the rights of property, Pavlova points out, and “world history does not know any other path for the establishment of democratic procedures and institutions (including honest courts) besides the assertion of the right of private property.”

            First of all, those who own property have sought to secure their right to dispose of it during their lifetimes as they see fit and then to leave it to their heirs in their own country, she continues. Only then do “a normal parliament, normal parties, a normal court and other democratic institutions” emerge for “the defense of their interests.”

            In the West as it emerged from feudalism, it was “the owners of private property [who] became the foundation of a legal state. It was they [who] secured the formation of an agreement between society and the state … and from this agreement the entire society won because it became the basis of the observing of rights and ensured the formation of legal consciousness.”

            As Pavlova suggests, “in Russia, not a single social force up to now has even attempted to raise the principled question about the review of the results of the privatization of the beginning of the 1990s and the establishment of honest rules of the game.” No real liberal party has emerged to “defend private entrepreneurs and defend their interests.”

            Moreover, she continues, “no one has come out into the streets to demand the separation of property from the powers that me, no one has demanded the defense of private property and the definition of the continues of its transfer by inheritance [and] no one has demanded the review of the criminal cases and the liberation of thousands of entrepreneurs who are serving time for economic crimes.”

            “People should not be idealists,” Pavlova suggests. “People cannot change only because they suddenly decide to become good, honest and incorruptible or because they are forced by administrative measures to become such.  Corruption will never disappear in this way; instead, it will inevitably find ways to hide itself or do end runs around the rules.”

            “And elections in such circumstances,” she concludes, “cannot be honest or parties real parties; and “and as a result, the [Russian] parliament will remain a pseudo-parliament.”

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