Thursday, August 2, 2018

Putin and Trump have the Same Enemies but Putin Doesn’t have an Oklahoma, Eidman Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 2 – Trump and Putin, Erdogan, have “one and the same friends and enemies,” Igor Eidman says, not divided along the usual class lines of workers and employers but between residents of major cities and rural areas, between the young and the old, and “between people of the old industrial and the new post-industrial economy.”

            This is especially obvious in the United States, the Russian commentator for Deutsche Welle says, “where many workers and businessmen of traditional branches (from farmers to oil men) support Trump, and new entrepreneurs and innovators are often the most convinced anti-Trumpites” (

            In the United States, Eidman says, there is a clear clash between “the new and old models of the economy” and the corresponding views of those in each on society. “A notional Oklahoma finds itself in a clinch with a notional Silicon Valley.”

            The real meaning of the current conservative wave is not about “anti-immigrant hysteria.” That is “just a populist device,” the commentator says. What is really going on is “a revolt of the agrarian-industrial backwaters against the worldwide Silicon Valley, against globalization and the new creative economy.”

            Any attempt to stop progress, of course, is “doomed,” Eidman says. “The present-day Luddites headed by Trump do not have a future.”

            Like Trump, “Putin is attempting to defend an old socio-economic system. But if in the US, this is traditional industrial capitalism, in Russia, it is contemporary feudalism with bureaucrat-land holders, oligarch-assignees of the ruler and a semi-enserfed majority of the population.”

            And that points to a key difference between Putin and his country and Trump and his. “Industrial workers or farmers in the US are interested in the preservation of the old order. The Russian backwoods aren’t. The present regime has condemned it to poverty and a wretched existence.”

            “Therefore,” Erdogan says, “Putin unlike Trump … does not have the powerful supporter even in his notional ‘Oklahoma’ which is very dissatisfied with his social policies.”

            In the event of a crisis, very few of those Russians would come to Putin’s defense because “the Putin regime does not have an active mass base and therefore will hardly survive any serious shocks,” the Russian commentator says.

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