Staunton, August 1 – Despite the conviction of many that conflicts among opposition figures are simply battles among individuals, Vladimir Pastukhov says, “an ideological struggle in post-communist Russia not only exists but is proceeding within a long discredited mental paradigm” which explains why Russian history, its reflection, is a vicious circle.
The recent debates between Aleksey Navalny and Igor Strelkov, the St. Antony’s College historian says, are “the clearest public clash in recent years of all the main Russian ideological trends at the new turn of Russian history,” a clash that involves “not two but three,” the last being the spirit of the Russian liberal opposition (republic.ru/posts/85454
Pastukhov says, “in the final analysis can be extremely varied: Orthodox, communist, anti-communist, corrupt and even anti-corrupt.” But the fundamental vicious cycle of Russian history won’t be broken until the vicious cycle of Russian thought is broken and Russia adopts “at a minimum” three fundamental reforms.
First of all, there must be rules that prevent anyone from remaining in power for very long and ensure the circulation of elites. Second, he says, there must be a fundamental decentralization of power. And third, there needs to be a clear transition to a parliamentary republic or “as a variant,” a parliamentary-presidential one.
Rephrasing a popular political notion in the past, “one can say that “all previous ideologies have put as their goal the modernization of Russian autocracy … now the time has come to demolish it.” That requires that the opposition come together to get power and only then debate their differences. Worrying about the latter first ensures that it won’t take power.
There is a clear example of what is at stake if the two opposition trends don’t come together. That was in Germany in the early 1930s when the two main opposition groups decided their differences were more important than anything else and thus lost out, opening the way to the rise of Hitler.
Or put another, Pastukhov concludes, “present day Russian politics reminds one of a computer game: in it, there are many levels, and one must not jump to the next level without fulfilling the program of the previous one.”