Once Putin goes, the cycle will repeat itself, the commentator argues. Whoever comes will introduce a thaw, but in the absence of one fundamental change, that thaw will fail to transform the country and instead lead to the rise of a new autocrat after its author leaves the scene.
According to Zaydman, “Russia after Putin thus has no prospects, at least in the visible future and in the form in which it exists today, above all in the size in which the country exists now.” Historian Aleksandr Yanov is right: having confused size with greatness, Russia has trapped itself in the past.
“The 20th century was the century of the collapse of empires. Today, there are no more empires on the earth other than the Russian,” and its imperial construction is the foundation of the vicious cycle from which the country and its people are unable to escape, the Kasparov commentator says.
He continues: “In the 21st century, it is not size which determines the greatness of a country.” It is what it does with its people and how they are able to display their own creative genius. But Putin and those like him are trapped in a 19th century mindset that fails to understand that new reality.
Tragically, Putin isn’t alone, Zaydman continues, noting that he “does not understand the fury with which even the most liberal democrats talk about what it will be necessary to undertake AFTER PUTIN in order to prevent Russia from falling apart, as if after Putin there won’t be other concerns.”
“I do not understand why this imperial curse is holding Russia back and not allowing it to move forward” but instead leading to an infinite series of thaws and freezes, to “the reincarnation in power of various Putins,” especially since “the time of empires has passed, empires have disappeared as at some point the dinosaurs died out.”
But there is one hope: “the probability that the third and final period of the disintegration of the Russian Empire will occur is quite high and, by the way, Putin is devoting all his efforts in way that will make this inevitable.”
Paradoxically, Zaydman concludes, this disintegration of the Russian state will give its peoples the chance to become a normal civilized country or more likely countries, capable of living and moving forward in the 21st century – even if today, few, including the most liberal, recognize that reality.