Sunday, June 24, 2018

Is Russia on Its Way to Becoming ‘a Boyar State,’ the Very Worst Regime for the Russian People?

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 24 – In Russian history, Moscow commentator Nikolay Yurenyev says, periods when the tsar is weak, old or for other reasons withdraws from direct rule often have resulted in the rise of a boyar state, one in which the wealthy seek to carve out power for themselves and to block others from gaining any.

            Such periods, he continues, have “lasted until power is assumed by the next dictator-tsar.” And not only have boyar states been “the worst period for the people,” they often have led to another time of troubles in which both the people and the state itself have suffered (

            Yurenyev adds that it appears to him that Russia is entering into a new “boyar kingdom,” where “present-day clans steal from the people without any constraints and the tsar, it seems, is willing to tolerate rather than combat this unfortunate development. Indeed, the Kremlin leader appears to be on his way to becoming the servant of these “boyars.”

            Under that term, the commentator says, he doesn’lt include “all the Deripaskas, Linsins and Mordashovs” but rather “the higher bureaucracy around Putin and in the regions. Theya re a real force!”  Consider the following news items that have recently appeared on the Internet, Yurenyev suggests.

“The procuracy will not challenge a law about increasing by two and a half times the pension of Kamchatka officials and deputies … The law about the sharp increase in pensions of the first persons of Kamchatka entered into force on April 22. It was developed in the kray government and supported by the overwhelming majority of [regional] deputies.

“The very greatest increases were given to the governor, the first vice governor, the chairman of the Legislative Assembly and his first deputy.  Going on pensions, they will receive approximately 150,000 rubles (2500 US dollars) a month from the regional budget. [Lower-ranking officials will receive 100,000 (1600 US dollars).”

Moscow officials like Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin expressed outrage and promised to do something, but of course they haven’t. Meanwhile, people from the regions have unleashed a veritable campaign of attacks on Putin, his former wife, lovers, and assets now held in the West.

“It is obvious from this” or should be, Yurenyev suggests, that those with real power want “the tsar” to know whom he should bow down to – today’s “boyars” who have real power and have no intention of giving it up. 

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