Sunday, March 15, 2020

Putin Changed the Constitution Now Because He is Afraid of the Future, Pastukhov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 10 – Hanging over the current constitutional “swindle” has been the question as to why Vladimir Putin acted now and not closer to 2024, but the answer is at hand, Vladimir Pastukhov says, in Pushkin’s Boris Godunov. Like his distant predecessor, the Kremlin leader is afraid the future, even the next three years.

            “It is obvious,” the London-based Russian analyst says, that the fears of Putin and those around them forced them to hurry, to engage in the second “anti-constitutional and anti-state revolution” (the first was the installation of a fake president in 2008-2012) (

            The only issue that remains unclear is “the price which society will have as a result,” Pastukhov says. But the timing of this Kremlin move makes sense from its denizens’ point of view: The prospects of a union state of Russia and Belarus turned out to be “a mirage,” and “there were no other instruments for resolving the problem of the extension of the status quo.”

            The Russian Constitution was worked on in the course of six weeks by people who are afraid, the analyst says. “It thus became an accidental victim of Putin’s war. We have lost it.” The question now is “will we keep Russia?” or will be lose that too. There is as yet no definite answer to that.

            The means Putin has used “have turned out to be more dangerous than the goal” for which they were pursued, Pastukhov continues. “We will have as a result not simply the extension of Putin’s time in office. We will have a Putin in a completely different Russia that that which we were accustomed to see even under him.”

            “This will be a Russia even without the appearance of law, where the main idea, as fixed in the constitution, will be reduced to the formula: whatever is good for the powers that be is good for Russia.”

            According to Pastukhov, “the amendments which accompanied the main ‘Tereshkova’ one ‘weigh’ politically more than this main amendment. Tereshkova makes Putin irreplaceable and immortal. All the previous amendments which prepared the basis for the final scene in this drama make obscurantism immortal.”

            Pastukhov recalls that in 2008, he argued that it would be better for Putin to continue to serve a third term than to engage in the subterfuge of shifting to the prime minister’s office because violating one provision of the constitution would have been better than violating the constitution as such.

             “It seems to me,” he says, that he “is again ready to put forward this thesis for discussion. Let Putin be declared ruler for life via the referendum but leave the Constitution in peace. Of course, society will suffer, but there will not be any winners” in this process. The powers must understand that they are setting the stage for their own demise.

            “Like the insane operator of a political Chernobyl,” Pastukhov argues, “they are one by one pulling out the control rods from the bubbling cauldron of uncontrolled and unlimited violence. Those in the Kremlin doing this should reread Pushkin” and see that what began in his opera one place ended in a very different one.

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