Monday, April 6, 2020

‘Power Vertical’ Only an Icon Some Pray to but Others have Ceased to Believe, Pavlovsky Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 3 – In the coronavirus crisis, Gleb Pavlovsky says, “people at the local level are taking decisions in spite of the virtual vertical” because they know the situation best and are the ones most capable of acting. Putin’s decision to make them responsible officially in this case is thus a positive step.

            But it is not the breakthrough to federalism some suggest, the Moscow commentator says. Instead, it is a recognition of the reality that when there are real problems, those closest to them will always be the ones who will have to do much of the work (

            According to Pavlovsky, the power vertical isn’t collapsing because “symbolic objects” don’t since “they do not exist in the material world. There wasn’t any vertical. This is a propagandist meme. We understand when it arose and for what reason, a meme which, unfortunately, was inserted into our political lexicon by the efforts of the Kremlin.”

            “But generally speaking,” he continues, “Russia is a country of many lands and cities.”

            “The vertical was a kind of icon to which it was possible to pray. Those who want to can continue to pray to it, but decisions will be taken there where they should be taken, in the government, mayors’ offices, in the healthcare system, because there we need decisions to survive and not triumph by invoking our old prejudices.”

            He continues: “Russia is a regional country and now there can be not that many useful and real federal decisions. The attempt to adopt a single decision for such a colossal country will result in the epidemic taking on cosmic dimensions.” Moscow’s task now should be “not to interfere and quickly respond to requests from the localities.”

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