Sunday, August 19, 2018

Putinism is Hardly the Delayed Triumph of the August 1991 Putschists, Ikhlov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 19 – On this anniversary of the August 1991 putsch attempt, many commentators have been tempted to suggest that the regime Vladimir Putin has erected is in large measure the one that those who behind that action wanted.  They could not be more wrong, according to Yevgeny Ikhlov.

            Instead, the Moscow commentator argues, “a hypothetic regime of Pavlov-Yanayev-Kruchkov would have been the mirror opposite of Putinism both in his ‘oprichnik period’ (before 2008) and in his ‘Crimea is ours one’” that in fact really began in November 2012 but achieved its apogee in March 2018 (

            In exactly the same way, he continues, “the coming to power of Hitler was not a victory of the von Kapp monarchist putsch of 1920.”

            The putschists “were for the empire but not for imperialism, for ascetic service to the country but not for an oligarchate. Its authors would never have dreamed of placing their bets on imperial revanchism and on the mythologization of the era of the Rurikides and Orthodox clericalism.”

            Their “chief goal was the preservation of the ability to receive from the republics (including the RSFSR) the resources for the support of the enormous Soviet military-industrial complex and not into the transformation of the country into an extension of the oil and gas monopoly and a dressing room for offshores.”

            Instead, those behind the putsch were seeking “to achieve the plan of Marshal Beria of 1953, including the fraternal unification of German, the liberalization of the collective farms (including transfer of private plots to urban residents for potato growing) and the ‘rooting’ of the republic leadership which would involve the preservation of ethnocracy under conditions of loyalty to the imperial center.”

            “It is possible,” Ikhlov says, “that this would have been a variant of fascism resembling Mussolini’s.” It is also “very possible” that such a regime would have relied on “militant anti-Semitism” as the basis for suppressing the liberal intelligentsia.

            “But” – and this is the most important thing, the Moscow commentator insists – “there wouldn’t have been an upsurge of clerical obscurantism and sponsored anti-Ukrainianism. Instead, there would have been a continuation of the drivel about ‘a single Soviet people.’”  

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