Monday, June 11, 2018

Kremlin is a Business Masquerading as a State, Varna Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 11 – Many Russian government actions that seem absurd if one assumes that the set of bodies the Kremlin calls are state become completely explicable, even logical, if it is recognized that one is dealing with a business that seeks to imitate a state, according to Anatoly Varna, a commentator for the Riga-based Harbin portal.

            Like its Soviet predecessor, the Russian “imitation state is acting like a commercial company: its main efforts it directs toward where it can achieve maximum profit and lowest costs,” oil and gas exports in the former and the population in the latter (

            “Who is the main enemy and prevents a company from getting high profits? Competitors. And who are the competitors of Russia as a corporation? Other countries. Consequently, they are enemies; therefore, Russia is surrounded by enemies, from the point of view of the directors of the company.” Domestically, the most powerful company puts pressure on smaller businesses and the population.

            “Putin is the president of a company and not of the state; and more than that, he isn’t a tsar having begun his career in one of the subdivisions of the security service of the company. There he attracted attention and support as a good crisis manager and over time became one of the owners.”

            “By the way,” Varna continues, “the siloviki are the security service of the company: their task is to guarantee the security of the company and its leadership. Thus, our police have somewhat different functions than those in other countries and they are coping with this brilliantly.”

            The “imitation state” or state as corporation also explains the slogans the owners occasionally put out. For a government to urge that the country “catch up and surpass” another country is absurd, “but if this very same rhetoric is used by the leadership of a weak company in comparison to a strong, this sounds completely normal.”

            If Russians or others try to understand what the owners are doing as if they were men of state, nothing will make sense, Varna concludes.  But if they view it as the company it in fact is, then everything is simple and clear. The “owners” of what they and others call the Russian state are behaving exactly as the heads of a corporation. 

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