Staunton, July 13 – Those who oppose Boris Yeltsin to Vladimir Putin now recall those who a half century ago counterposed “the good Lenin” to “the bad Stalin,” Igor Eidman says, with both suggesting that the successor undermined something that was initially “good,” communism in the first case and democracy in the second.
“In reality,” the Russian commentator for Deutsche Welle says, “the Putin is just as direct the logical heir of Yeltsin’s system as Stalin’s was of Lenin’s. The legal, economic, and political foundations of the Putin regime was put in place under Yeltsin. Putin operates on the Yeltsin constitution which gives him enormous power” (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5B4902D994E6C).
Moreover, Eidman continues, “Yeltsin’s privatization formed the criminal economic base of the regime. The Yeltsin business oligarchy supported him with unearned wealth. And the Yeltsin bureaucracy and special services became the basis of ‘the power vertical’” which many prefer to ascribe to Putin alone.
Unless this is understood, the commentator implies, no one in Russia will be able to take the steps to overcome the authoritarian disaster that is Russia today because he or she will not go far enough back to see its roots in the 1993 Constitution, the voucher privatization, and the vicious war in Chechnya.
Only by recognizing these links is there any chance to move forward now just as only recognizing the commonalities of Lenin and Stalin, had it occurred, might have kept the generation of the 1960s – and many others besides – from pursuing a goal that inevitably led to another blind alley.
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