Staunton, December 3 – Russian President Vladimir Putin faces the challenge that faced Joseph Stalin in the early 1930s: he must find a way to bring to heel the very people who helped bring him to power. In short, Russian analyst says, “in order to survive, Putin must become Stalin.”
In a lengthy article in today’s “Novaya gazeta,” Vladimir Pastukhov, who currently teaches at St. Antony’s College in Oxford, said that there is only one difference in the obstacles the Russian leader faces if he is to overcome his current difficulties and achieve unrestricted personal power (www.novayagazeta.ru/politics/55687.html
Stalin faced the same challenge, and so to that extent, “Putin must become Stalin,” break United Russia and those who depend on it for their careers.
He can do that by integrating the party of power with the state in the way that Stalin did with the Bolsheviks, and if Putin does so, “it will be a kind of historic justice” because it would be “the logical extension of the restorationist policy of Vladimir Putin.” Obviously, “it is impossible to seek the restoration of the USSR on all fronts and not try to revive the CPSU.”
As Putin proceds, “a clash of ‘the young wolves’ and ‘the Petersburg chekists’ is almost inevitable,” Pastukhov says. “This is only a question of time.” And the struggle of the party men with the chekists now just as in the past will lead to exposure of corruption on the one hand and its institutionalization in “regulated nomenklatura privileges.”
The Russian present may not succeed, of course, Pastukhaov says, but “the gray overthrow” of the existing order “is an attempt to double the power of Putin,” not the GDP of Russia. If he does not succeed in doing so, the analyst concludes, he ultimately will be left an unused chesspiece on the board of history.