Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Russia’s ‘Hybrid’ Regime Infantilizing Citizens, Mercantalizing Elites, Baranov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 29 – Russia’s “hybrid” political system, one based on a combination of democratic and authoritarian elements that have led to a super-presidentialist arrangement that leaves little or no political room for any political action by either the population or the elites, has infantilized citizens and mercantilized elites, Pavel Baranov says.

            Other than voting for the president, something that happens only once every six years, the population is reduced to being observers of the system rather than participants, the legal specialist at the Southern Russia Institute of Admdinistration says, and is infantilized by a propaganda system that stresses foreign challenges rather than domestic issues.

            And kept from playing a political role by the absence of checks and balances that elites in other countries use to advance their own interests, Baranov continues, Russian elites are left with only one possible course of action: the pursuit of mercantilist economicadvantage (ng.ru/stsenarii/2018-05-29/9_7234_constitution.html).

            As a result, he says in a detailed analyst of the constitutional and historical elements that have allowed this system to develop, neither the population nor the elites are in fact directly engaged in politics aat least in the normal sense and thus cannot be analyzed in the way that the actions of masses and elites are in other systems.

            That in turn means that neither the one nor the other currently has the opportunities to develop into politically effective players but instead is prepared to accept its situation, as observers of the defense of the country in the case of the mass population and as economic actors concerned only with their own enrichment.

           Baranov does not say but his analysis implies that the longer the Putinist super-presidentialist system survives, the more difficult it will be for either the population or the elites to recover and play their normal roles in the development of a more participatory political system.

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