Thursday, December 7, 2017

As at the End of Soviet Times, Kremlin’s Pursuit of Stability Now Making Instability More Likely, ‘Nezavisimaya Gazeta’ Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 6 – In a disturbing parallel with the last decades of the Soviet times, the editors of Nezavisimaya gazeta say, Russia today finds itself in the paradoxical situation “when the rejection of reforms and efforts to preserve the regime are increasing the risks of instability” that the Kremlin fears so much.

            In a lead article, the editors argue that Russian society again as was the case at the end of the Soviet period “is encountering the paradox of development when the rejection of reforms and attempts at preserving the regime are increasing the risks of instability”  (
            Then, the paper continues, “the Communist Party devoted all its efforts to cementing in place the existing regime, economic mechanism and also the system of limitations and punishments. Private property, competition and free price competition remained in the country under the strictest prohibition.”

            “Almost all economic activity was strictly controlled by the state. The ruling group rejected all reforms despite the clear worsening of the economic situation, the decline in the incomes of the population and technological lagging behind.”  And it wasn’t prepared to adopt the Chinese model which was contributing to economic growth and an improved standard of living.

            As a result, Nezavisimaya gazeta continues, “every year, stagnation in the USSR undermined trust in the authorities and in essence destroyed the state.”

            Today, the paper says, “the main goal of economic policy is the reduction of the budget deficit and the replenishment of reserves, but without stable economic growth, these tasks are practical impossible to fulfill.” All that is possible is to create for a time “only the illusion of budgetary stabilization.”

            But the negative consequences of such quasi-stabilization can be very serious” because the country will pay for this with a reduction of economic activity and a growth in the state debt. Shifting funs from pension funds and other reserves to pay for current accounts may look like a way out; but that tactic will quickly lead to the country into a dead end.

            Russians may not appreciate that fact yet just as Soviet citizens did not see it immediately, but the lesson of the past is that they will eventually see through such temporary fixes and turn away from those who use them.

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