Monday, January 28, 2019

Russia and Venezuela Share ‘Hybrid Vozhdism’ and a Common Fate, Gulevskaya says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 27 – The reason the Venezuela events are so disturbing to Moscow is that they are a clear indication of what the Putin elites can expect after “the anti-constitutional Putin regime” is overthrown and they lose “in a single hour” whatever legitimacy their power and their wealth had, according to Russian human rights activist Natalya Gulevskaya.

            “Ugo Chavez is the closest prototype to Putin,” she continues, and “the regimes of Russia and Venezuela are strikingly similar,” with enormous wealth in natural resources combined with increasing poverty in the population. More significantly, they are personalist dictatorships rather than classic authoritarian regime (

            Neither is capable of transferring power from the founder to a successor, and thus one can usefully call both “’hybrid vozhdist’” regime, which also share this in common, they have the same “life cycle, one equal to that of a single leader.” When he departs, those who try to take over find themselves without any support and are soon pushed out.

            Nicolas Maduro clearly doesn’t understand that “the structure of personal relationships of Ugo Chavez has receded into the past, and he not only can’t replace it fully but will be overthrown after a guarantee of security to key figures of his regime,” Gulevskaya convincingly argues.

            In the Russian case, this has a dimension which she suggests many do not yet fully consider. The coming collapse of the Russian Federation will not be like that of the USSR in many ways, but most important, those who were props of the Putin regime will not be able to hold on any part of the former empire as some Soviet officials have in the post-Soviet states.

            Just as there is no legal succession for a post-Putin leadership, so too there is no legal succession to the states that will emerge from the end of the Russian Federation, Gulevskaya says. And that means that as subjects of international law, these will “begin their statehood from blank page.

            Consequently, the process will be far more difficult than any imagine, especially since there won’t be any states ready to intervene on behalf of the would-be Putin successors.  Those in his regime should therefore now “look at Venezuela and remember that your fate will be many times more tragic.” 

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