Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Putin Regime Only About Enrichment of Officials, Making Fight Against Corruption Moot, Analysts and People Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 25 – Ever more commentators as well as ordinary Russians via polls are declaring that the Russian state exists only to enrich its officials and that the supposed struggle against corruption is meaningless except as an attempt to distract the country’s attention from the real problems it faces.

            And at least one analyst has said what many others have implied: the only way to end this situation is via a revolution that will sweep away both the officials and the informal arrangements they have which allow this situation and the negative consequences it has on the country to continue, a logical conclusion but likely one few Russians are prepared to act on.

            In a oft-reposted commentary today, the SerpomPo telegram channel today argues that the near total corruption in Russia is a reflection of the fact that it is “an inalienable part of the Putin regime … as a result, nothing will come of ‘the struggle’ against it” as manifest in the continuing charges and convictions Moscow is pleased to announce (t.me/SerpomPo/2700).

            The reason is simple, SerpomPo says, “it is impossible to defeat bribes in a state where the entire sense of the work of the government apparatus, beginning from the very top is personal enrichment” rather than service to the people and where that enrichment becomes possible only by the massive corruption the regime will never address in a serious way.   

            A new poll shows that Russians overwhelmingly agree with this: 70 percent say that bribes and  corruption are evidence that the government is not doing its nominal job but instead is falling apart (novayagazeta.ru/news/2019/02/25/149520-levada-tsentr-pochti-70-rossiyan-schitayut-vzyatki-chinovnikov-i-ih-aresty-proyavleniem-razlozheniya-vlasti).

Moreover, polls show that recent arrests an attempt by the regime too distract them from rea problems (meduza.io/news/2019/02/25/levada-tsentr-chetvert-rossiyan-nazvali-arest-arashukovyh-sposobom-otvlech-vnimanie-ot-realnyh-problem). And one in five think recent arrests have been really about fighting corruption (capost.media/news/society/tolko-chetvert-rossiyan-schitayut-arest-arashukovykh-borboy-s-korruptsiey/).

Moscow commentator Dmitry Milin takes the next step: He argues that “once again nothing depends on ‘the state machine’” which operates for itself and takes from the society without giving back. “The Russian official produces nothing except corruption, theft, foolishness, disorganization and harm” (blog.newsru.com/article/25feb2019/marazm).

“Unfortunately, this is our historical tradition,” he continues. And history shows that “the only hope for breaking the bureaucracy is revolution, historically the poorest method of changing rulers because of the risk that extremists will come to power.  But we do not have any other means.” 

“Attempts to reduce the power of the bureaucracy by bureaucratic means are condemned to complete failure. The bureaucracy doesn’t work that way. Like bacteria, it spreads” until there is nothing else for it to infect. It can only be accepted with all the negative consequences or killed off with the risk that a new bureaucracy will arise.

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