Mixed Government-Business Clans Still Dominate Regional Regimes, Isayev Says
June 27 – Vladimir Putin has succeeded in putting his own people, often
outsiders, in as heads of the federal subjects; but neither he nor they have
ended the dominance of clans, typically consisting of a mix of government officials
and businessmen, at the next level down. Indeed, their dominance in many places
appears to be increasing, Nikita Isayev says.
combination of Putin appointees at the top and strong and seemingly impregnable
clans below represents an increasingly shocking case of “political surrealism,”
the Svobodnaya pressa commentator
says, in which Moscow’s control looks near total from the top down but far less
so when viewed from the bottom up (svpressa.ru/society/article/203672/).
he calls this arrangement “the new-old government” and “the embodiment of the
dynasties of ‘the little tsars’ in all corners of the country,” a useful
reminder that the appointment of an outsider may not undermine the control of
locals but even lead to situations in which he or she is captured as it were by
those who had power before.
this pattern indicates, Isayev says, that in Russia today, there are political
dynasties de facto if not de jure especially if one understands
that term in a broader sense of involving not just the handing over of power
from father to son but “the fusion of local authorities with local business structures.”
it even happens, he continues, that “financial relations are even stronger than
blood. But this does not change anything in essence: in almost every region
there is a clan, standing at the helm and promoting exclusively its own
interests,” regardless of what Moscow or anyone else wants.
worse, Isayev says referring to cases around the country, the Putin regime is
promoting this even as it appears to be fighting it because it is inculcating
in the rising class of government and business leaders that competition is bad
and that there needs to be an orderly pattern of rule. That freezes the current
arrangements rather than changes them.
when friends and relatives of regional bosses occupy all leading posts of local
government, municipal, and even private enterprises are striking,” he continues;
“but they are not unique.”The Russian economy
now is so constructed that “the most interesting enterprises are under the
control of the state or people close to the government.”
a situation can’t be changed in a moment. Moscow can send “’a young technocrat’”
to every region, “but show me that superman who in an instance can defeat the
entire rotting system in a single region entirely surrounded by others of the
same kind.”There is no such person.
“the process of creating strong and responsible leaders must be created from
the very bottom, beginning with the system of public education which today not
only doesn’t teach children to show initiative but doesn’t even give sufficient
fundamental knowledge” of how that can be done.
young administrators do not have either the habits of healthy competitive
struggle or an understanding of responsibility for their own actions. Elections
for them are only a formality, the outcome of which depends on relations with
leaders up the line.”
habit of mind is imposed in the brains of Russians from childhood,” Isayev
says. All ths is made worse by the clear recognition of the lack of a system of
cadres growth which depends on real services and successes. Competition in the
state administration must be clear and no less harsh than among entrepreneurs in
the free market.”
he concludes, “we will live in a great land, but one that is ‘a land of slaves
and a land of lords.’”