Friday, September 7, 2018

Russia Moving toward an Openly and Officially Stratified Society, Solovey Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 7 – The Russian system over the next five years will be transitioning to a new state, Valery Solveyey says, one whose main concern is not the selection of a successor to Vladimir Putin but rather the preservation of the status, privileges and wealth of the key elite group.

             Because this transition will be occurring “under conditions of a growing deficit of resources, intensification of foreign pressure, and the growth of internal tensions, it may turn out to be an extremely harsh one, the MGIMO political scientist and commentator continues (

            One aspect of this is that “in the course of the transition, the task of converting society into ‘the new oil’ and a source of resources for the elite must be addressed and solved,” he says.  “The pension reform is the first important step in this direction.”  And the response to it suggests even more radical changes ahead.

            It may soon prove to be the case, Solovey says, that “even imitation democracy will become excessive, unnecessary and filled with risks.”  As a result, Solovey suggests, there will be a push to replace it with a system defined on the basis of the relationship of various groups to state service, or strata in something like the tsarist sense.

            The top such stratum would be “closed and outside the existing legal system,” that is, its members could act without regard to laws that they would be imposing on all others. 

            At the same time, Solovey says, “the imperative of external conflict which can be extended a minimum of five years and more likely longer will require the centralization and stratification of the economy.” It will also require “the reduction in the number of federal subjects by means of their unification” and the introduction of “a state ideology.”

            According to the MGIMO professor, “the ruling elite is certain of its ability to preserve control over society and not to allow challenges.”  Further, he says, “the active phase of transition will begin in 2020-2021.

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