Sunday, April 1, 2018

‘Putinism is the Ideology of a Third World Dictator,’ Kruglov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 1 – Many analysts want to fit Vladimir Putin into the mold of Stalin or to suggest that his regime is “fascism of a Russian type,” Artem Kruglov says; but in fact, Putin’s modus operandi is based on “the ideology of a third world dictator” like Mobuto or Papa Doc Duvalier.

            Kruglov, who has been responsible for the Radio Svoboda site “Putinism as It Is” since 2015, says that becomes obvious if one compares Putin with ether of these dictators: “the very same power without limits, the unrestrained enrichment of himself and his clan,” and the claim that the regime reflects “the special path” of his people (

            The only real difference, the analyst continues, is that Putin has “the nuclear button” and Novichok and the others don’t.

            According to Kruglov, Putin came by this naturally having entered Russian politics in the 1990s in St. Petersburg which “at that time was the criminal capital of Russia.” There he both formed the alliances that he has continued to rely on and picked up the values of the criminal world of which he was very much a part.

            Putin has never really broken with the 1990s in terms of his person which may help to explain why he holds up that period as something frightening that Russians must avoid repeating by supporting his own increasingly authoritarian manner of rule.  Denouncing what one is doing to others is a common psychological response.

            Putin rose to power and wealth by his involvement with all kinds of criminal activity including drug smuggling, gang warfare, and bank fraud. Those who backed him in all this became fabulously wealthy and were integrated into his elite; those who didn’t often ended up dead or at least ruined.

            Kruglov points to case after case in support of each of his assertions and says that taken together they mean that “one should not compare Russia with Europe but with those which are closer to it” in spirit and practice.” He gives the Haiti of Papa Doc Duvalier as an example of a system very similar to Putin’s.

                “In 1964,” Kruglov says, “the dictator Duvalier known as Papa Doc conducted a referendum on recognizing him as president for life.  On the ballots was only one question: ‘Do you agree?’ With what, everyone understood, and there was only one answer available ‘yes.’”  And he used his death squadrons, the tonton macoutes, to ensure that everyone behaved.

                 Putin’s Russia is just the same: everyone knows how he or she is expected to behave and vote, and the FSB serves as a kind of tontons macoutes “in uniform” or not to make sure, the Radio Svoboda analyst continues.  Moreover, it claims just as Duvalier and Mobutu did that it is based on a special national tradition.

            Such systems work for a long time, Kruglov says; indeed, they work until they don’t, until people wise up and realize what has been going on. The Putin regime is the same in that regard too. “Yes, it is building a Bantustan. Russia today is a country where the average pay is lower than that in Romania.”

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