Staunton, June 21 – Vladimir Putin’s “Direct Line” program again showed that Russia today has a tsar and a people but not a state, Lev Shlosberg says, and that the Kremlin leader “runs Russia like the owner of a business or the president of a corporation would” but not someone in charge of a government.
The Yabloko deputy from Pskov says that the latest iteration of this show indicates as well that “nothing is changing in the Russian state because in essence, there is no state,” but only “a president who would like to be an emperor and go down in history” and “a morally crippled zombified population” (gubernia.pskovregion.org/columns/pryamaya-liniya-vladimira-putina-snova-pokazala-strana-zhivet-v-rezhime-plohogo-ru/).
There is also, of course, “a thieving and false bureaucracy and a servile press … but there is no state responsible to the people.” There is no independent court system, no freedom of speech, no honest elections, no genuine parliament and “no real politics.” Instead, there are simulacra of all these things.
But “there is Putin,” Shlosberg continues, and the pictures of a pseudo-reality that he orders to be disseminated on television. His government was built precisely so everything would depend on his changing fancies and that normal “institutions and mechanism will not work” unless it suits him.
In short, and this may be the secret of his attractiveness to the leaders of some other countries, “Putin runs Russia like a business owner.” But at the same time, it is becoming ever more obvious that he is tired of this game and would like to go but that he has created a system in which he does not see any way out for himself.
“In a genuine state,” the deputy writes, “rules (laws) work for all” and “freedom (the right to say and do) works for all. And this system runs itself, including by changing those in power at elections.” A president in such a state focuses on defining the general path of development that reflects what the people want as reflected in elections.
But “the Russia of Vladimir Putin is a country in which the state has been privatized by the existing powers that be. In the absence of honest elections, temporary people the powers of which should be strictly limited in time feel themselves not simply permanent but sometimes lifetime masters in an alien house.”
“The president of Russia in such a system is not the head of a state but the head of a ruling clan. He created this clan for the struggle for personal power and for retaining it, not for displaying any concern about the well-being of the people. The people in such a system is something superfluous” and deserves only to be “zombified.”
According to Shlosberg, “Putin’s ‘Direct Line’ has exhausted itself because his system and Putin himself have exhausted themselves.” He is tired “but he doesn’t want and cannot leave because the system of one man hands’ on management will work only for one specific individual,” Vladimir Putin.
Putin of course understands that “sooner or later he will have to go.” But he doesn’t know how to arrange this because he doesn’t accept the idea of honest elections and honest competition because by his nature “Putin will never hand over power to the people.” For him, the people is “only a passenger” on a train that he decides where it will go.
The Russian people asked some real questions but Putin didn’t and doesn’t have answers, the Pskov deputy says. As a result, his state could collapse “at any moment,” a sharp contrast to a real state which is based on “a pyramid of power” with the people integrated into it. Unfortunately for all, Putin “will never build such a state because he is incapable of that and doesn’t need it.”
Only someone different “in all senses of the word” can, “a free man who “needs not subjects but citizens, not slaves but people who have real rights.”