Monday, May 23, 2016

Like Stalin's Moves Against Trotskyites, United Russia Primaries Point to Purges Ahead, Ikhlov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 23 – The Kremlin has suggested and some observers believe that the primary elections involving Russia’s ruling party United Russia represent another step toward the democratization of Russia. But Yevgeny Ikhlov says that they in fact represent Vladimir Putin’s preparation for a purge of the elite.

            On the portal, the Moscow commentator argues that “the cynically barbaric ‘primaries’ showed the preparation of the authorities for an open move toward fascism” and even more to a purge within their own ranks as the first step toward new and broader set of repressions against the population (

            Not only to these primaries show what the upcoming Duma elections will be like, Ikhlov says, but “’the experience of history shows’” as many like to say “that real mass terror of a tyrannical regime begins first precisely with violence directed at its radical wing,” rather than at those opposed to it.

            “Stalin’s ‘Great Terror’ arose not out of Chekist violence against the monarchists, the liberals and the SRs, but out of the suppression of ‘the left opposition.’” And earlier in France, the Jacobin terror “became completely paranoid right after the guillotining of leftists from among the Paris Jacobins.”

            That is exactly what these primaries in Russia suggest is ahead because they “showed all the internal readiness of the party of power to openly fascist methods of rule,” the commentator continues, first against their own ranks and then against the population of the Russian Federation as a whole.

            Everyone needs to “free themselves from the ‘émigré’ view on political processes. In the 1920s, monarchists in Paris and Berlin gloated when they saw the violence Moscow visited on the SRs and Trotskyites … and in the 1930s, all the emigres together gloated equally about the Stalin’s extermination of the Bolsheviks and the rest of ‘the Leninist guard.’”

            They failed to see, Ikhlov continues, that this action by the Soviet dictator opened the way to “an alliance with Hitler, the fall of Paris, the defeats of 1941-1942 and millions of additional victims…”

            Some fail to see the same pattern now, and it is necessary that they understand that “the demise of Putin’s ‘decorative normality’ just like the demise of perestroika a quarter of a century ago” opens the way to the construction of a broad social front, which,” Ikhlov says, he “would call ‘anti-adventurist.’”

            In support of his argument, the Moscow commentator points to four aspects of the just-completed primaries: First, the shoving aside of the popular front Putin had pushed forward five years ago because some of its members believed too much in what he said then and therefore could no longer be counted on to follow every twist and turn in the party line.

Second, the primaries showed that the Kremlin was prepared to sacrifice the “completely Black Hundred freaks” within its ranks in order to protect the thieves at the core of United Russia.

Third, Ikhlov notes, “those who joined the party of power” recently just like those who joined the CPSU after 1956 “suffered a crushing defeat,” again so that the core of the party could be ready to take reprisals on them and their obvious but narrow careerism.

And fourth,  while the center may have wanted to keep up appearances for the West, the ranks of United Russia locally, given “the bureaucratically well controlled situation,” wasn’t concerned about doing so – and of course, that is exactly what Putin and the Kremlin want and need if they are going to start purging the elite and then the country.

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