Thursday, September 19, 2019

Putin Frightens Russians with Talk about a Russian Breakup but Ignores Divisions Driving It toward That End, Eidman Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 15 – Since coming to power nearly 20 years ago, Vladimir Putin has “loved to frighten the population with the image of the breakup of Russia,” implicitly -- or not so implicitly -- suggesting that only he can prevent that from happening, sociologist Igor Eidman says.

            But in doing so, he has not paid attention to the real divisions which exist in Russia today that have put the country on the path to disintegration, reducing Russia to something like “a cracked window pane which will stay in its frame” until someone touches it and leads it to shatter into “a multitude of shards” (

            Russia differs from other empires, Eidman continues, in that “it is divided not only between a metropolitan center and colonies but also by a minority of internal colonizers and a majority of the formally imperial nation which in fact is subjected to colonial exploitation” as harsh as many of the other parts. 

            The sociologist says that Russia right now is “divided up socially, territorially, in terms of social strata, and ethno-nationally:”

·         It is divided between “a privileged minority consisting of the upper bureaucracy, including the siloviki and the oligarchs connected with them – a group of approximately three percent of the super-rich to whom belongs 90 percent of the financial resourcs of the country – and the remaining 97 percent who are subject to harsh and denigrating exploitation by the first group.”

·         It is divided “between a metropolitan center (Moscow) and real colonies (the rest of russia, including privileged colonial enclaves like St. Petersburg, Chechnya, Sochi and so on.

·         It is divided between “the oprichnik Russia of the force structures and the civil population which is absolutely without rights before the all-powerful state of the new oprichniks, who mistreat, torture and steal from all those without epaulettes.
And it is divided between “an imperial center and national borderland which to an increasing degree are being subject to russification pressures.”

In each case, he says, the splits are deepening and growing into “open conflict.”  How soon will any or all of them bring the empire down?  That depends, Eidman concludes, on who will try to wash the broken glass and how.

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