Staunton, August 18 – One of the most popular notions among mainstream Russian liberals, Aleksandr Skobov says, is that there are two parties within the Kremlin elite contending for influence: “some ‘civic liberals who support bourgeois modernization” and “siloviki chekists” who back totalitarianism.
But this is a self-serving “liberal myth,” the Moscow commentator says, noting that no one can point to a single case when someone in the Kremlin came out against the rising tide of repression that the Russian powers that be have unleashed on Russian society (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5D5874D9D60F0).
Liberals challenged on this point respond, Skobov continues, that the Kremlin “liberals” are “forced to act behind the scenes” and that “the absence of any external manifestations of this opposition still does not show the absence of such opposition.” But there is an obvious and devastating response to that argument, he says.
“Kudrin and other systemic right liberals always were and remain supporters of the idea of ‘authoritarian modernization,’ in which ‘an advanced elite’ with an iron hand imposes ‘unpopular social-economic reforms’ on the irresponsible herd” – a position held by all those from Russian fascists to “patriotic state-thinking people.”
Such liberals, Skobov says, have never publicly said that they oppose in principle the use of force to compel the population to do what the elite wants it to do. Given that, he concludes, people should stop babbling about their supposed liberal allies “at the top of Putin’s organized criminal organization.”
Such people simply do not exist, the commentator concludes.