Monday, November 5, 2018

Not Seeing a Future for Himself, Putin Keeping Russia from Doing So, Telegram Channel Malyuta Skuratov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 3 – One of the primary tasks of any leader is to present a vision of the future for others to follow, but when the leader lacks any vision of the future for himself, he typically cannot offer any vision of the future for others. That is the situation Vladimir Putin and Russia find themselves in today, according to the Telegram Channel Malyuta Skuratov.

            Whenever a young Russian commits a horrific crime as in Kerch or Arkhangelsk, the Telegram author says, the Kremlin and its entourage rush about trying to find a way to take control of the youth of Russia.  That is happening now, but the authorities’ strategy is addressing only the symptoms and not the problem itself (

            The Putin regime copies the Soviet approach, intensifies educational work and supervision and tries to restore control.  It seeks to increase the number of people who will report on others either online or in the real world.  But none of this addresses the key question: why are young people acting this way?

                The answer is not far to seek, the Telegram Channel says. “For a long time, it has been obvious that the entire country has lost any goals or guides to the future.” There is no way to appeal to young people “when the single model of the future which our powers that be has is somewhere between the novels of Voinovich and the textbooks of the history of the USSR.”

            In fact, the Channel continues, “Putin’s promise of paradise after death and his appeals to the past is a symptom of the lack of an image of the future.” The Kremlin leader doesn’t see any such future for himself and so he is not in a position to offer a genuine one to the rest of the population. And young people who will be living in that future in particular sense that lack.

            What Putin puts out is simply a all too obvious “synthesis of ‘the soviet style’ and Orthodoxy;” but that can’t attract the young because they don’t accept either as a vision of the future but rather as the dead hand of the past.  Few were alive in Soviet times, and polls show that almost none of them are genuinely religious.

            “Putin’s speech writers inserted in his remarks yesterday a citation from Nikolay Danilevsky to the effect that not one civilization can take pride that it represents the highest point of development,” Malyuta Skuratov says. But they did not include the beginning of the passage which undercuts anything Putin might have wanted to suggest.

                “Progress,” Danilevsky observed, “consists not in having everyone go in one direction but in allowing a diverse approach so that people can go in all directions” and find the best one.  Because Putin doesn’t include that in his understanding, he is keeping Russia in a vicious circle in which the future will be the past because he offers no other future – indeed, no future at all.

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