Friday, November 16, 2018

De-Putinization Likely to Resemble De-Stalinization in All Too Many Ways, Eidman Suggests

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 16 – Many Russians and others are wondering who will succeed Vladimir Putin, but Igor Eidman asks a larger and perhaps even more important question: how will Russian “de-Putinize” once the dictator is gone. His answer comes in the form of an imaginative description of what attacks on the then-former leader of the Kremlin will be like.

            And he suggests in a brief comment that many of the same trends that informed the de-Stalinization campaign of Nikita Khrushchev after 1956 will be repeated once Putin has left the scene. His description of what “a new 20th congress” will be like is given below (

                At this meeting, the Russian sociologist who works as a commentator for Deutsche Welle says, “a politician will declare with indignation that Putin’s bloody aggression has brought Russia into conflict with ‘fraternal Ukraine’ and that this crime will never be forgiven. A diplomat will add that the former president got into a fight with the civilized world and left the country isolated.”

            Another official will point out that “Putin created a corrupt system in which all those who accepted office could not avoid stealing. A police chief will declare that the Putin administration compelled the force structures to harass and break up peaceful demonstrations and persecute political activists. A general will say that Putin violated the law by dispatching the military to costly secret wars.” And a judge will say that “in Putin’s times, the indepence of the judicial system was destroyed.”

            “A representative of the special services will complain that Putin cost the country numerous valuable agents by forcing them to engage in risky murders abroad. A priest will say that Putin’s war against Ukraine has led to a new schism in the Orthodox church. And a television personality will declare that the Presidential Administration controlled his every word and forced him to lie all the time.”

            At this post-Putin meeting, “an oligarch will complain that Putin’s aggressive policy meant that Western partners stopped dealing with him and that his property abroad was confiscated. Others will explain how under Putin, the authorities compelled him to falsify the results of election.”

                And “all present will feel that they are Putin’s real victims and express regret that nothing could be done. “And then perhaps in a departure from Khrushchev’s script, some young representative of the new democratic power will arise in the stands and announce that everyone who has spoken will be subject to lustration.”

            That didn’t happen 60 years ago; perhaps, Eidman suggests, one can hope that it will sometime in the near future. The big question, he implies, is whether the young man will get his way -- or whether he will be arrested by all those who claimed to be Putin's victims lest they became victims of a new democracy. 

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