Friday, April 13, 2018

Putin will Stay in Power Until His Death and Putinism Even Longer if Opposition and West Don’t Change Course, Inozemtsev Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 12 – Vladimir Putin will remain in power until his death because there are no forces in Russia capable of pushing him aside, Vladislav Inozemtsev says; but there is a great danger that Putinism will survive even his passing unless and until the Russian opposition and the West adopt an agenda for overcoming it.

            Speaking on the sidelines of the Free Russia Forum in Vilnius, the Russian economist says that it is “senseless” to think that Putin will leave office before he dies or that Putinism will die with him. When the first will occur is unknown, but both the opposition  and the West must prepare for that event (

            The West must be ready to say to the Russian people that “it is ready to see in Russia part of the Western world and that it does not want new hostilities.” It mustn’t repeat past mistakes: The West is guilty in the rise of Putinism no less than Russia is because it did not take Russia into its ranks as it did Germany” and other Eastern European countries.

            “This was its most stupid mistake,” Inozemtsev says, “one that repeated the mistake which was committed at Versailles toward the Weimar Republic” and to wait now for the opposition to overthrow Putin or for sanctions to lead to a revolt of the oligarchs is simply an impossible dream.

            But the West is not the only one unprepared for a post-Putin world, he continues. The Russian “opposition” isn’t either – and the reason is simple: it doesn’t exist.  “When we look at any other European country we see a situation when there are serious political parties with people prepared to take responsibility for political administration.”

            These parties and politicians hold meetings and come up with plans and programs. They are ready to respond if the chief of state does something.  But in Russia there is nothing like that, there are no programs and no real politicians at least in the Western sense of the word.  And without them, Putinism will survive long after Putin.

            This “in fact” is a very large problem “because if the window of opportunities opens, it will be filled by today’s Putinoids who are very much in solidarity with each other. They may be stupid or inadequate but they support one another and have the desire to steal the country blind. And that keeps them together.

            In contrast, he continues, “the democrats have not single idea. This could be the European idea or something else. But it must be a clearly expressed one.” Just saying that “everything will be fine and that we will have democratic elections and an independent judiciary” isn’t going to inspire anyone.

            “No one in Ukraine came out to the Maidan for independent courts,” Inozemtsev says. “They came out instead for immediate elections, but in Russia, there isn’t a single individual who could compete with Medvedev and win 49 to 48 percent. Medvedev would defeat Navalny 85 percent to 10 percent even in a perfectly open election.”

            “In Russia, there isn’t anyone who could put forward the idea ‘let’s go to Europe’ and say that the Europeans will support us.”  Europe and the West generally must change so that they can, Inozemtsev argues.  Russians want to live in a normal civilized country: they must be certain that if they take certain steps, they will be received as such.

            “There is no obligation to shout about democracy; instead, people must speak about a system where there is competition and small business gets support. We are Europeans. We want to live in a European way and we know that there are people in Europe who are prepared to support us” – that must be the message of the Russian opposition.

            Otherwise, Inozemtsev says, he doesn’t see any prospects for positive change.

No comments:

Post a Comment