Thursday, June 25, 2020

When Russian Leaders Stay in Office Too Long, Consequences for Russia are Disastrous, Baranov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 22 – Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin’s remark that “after Putin will be Putin” reflects the desire of the current powers that be, Anatoly Baranov says; but Russian history shows that when a ruler serves an inordinate length of time or creates a situation in which his rule is replicated by his successors, that has disastrous consequences for Russia.

            Often, when a leader has been in power for too long, his departure typically by death triggers radical and unanticipated change, the editor of the pro-communist Forum-MSK portal says. That is what happened after “the ‘eternal’ Stalin” and also after “the irreplaceable Brezhnev and even under Yeltsin in his second term (

            “Each time,” Baranov argues, “the country became different and not once did it become better.”  At present, no one in power or out can imagine a future without Putin or a Putin “after Putin,” as Volodin says; and Russian history should tell everyone that such a vision will not end well and may end very badly.

            The existing system in Russia “doesn’t have any relationship to almost any republic because a republic presupposes the regular change of powers. It is something else entirely, although it has preserved the attributes of a republic,” something like the earliest period of imperial Rome.

            As is “always” the case, Russia has moved toward a principate and then toward a monarchy” later than many former communist countries; but now we are called to vote to make Putin’s rule “eternal.”  However, he “alas is mortal and in the manner of the Egyptian pharaohs or the late Roman empires, he hasn’t yet been proclaimed a god.”

That is a worthy task for Kremlin political technologists, Baranov says.

 But none of this is going to make the current situation eternal. The Romanoff empire lasted 300 years, but ever other tsar died a less than natural death. Stalin’s system did not last as long and when he died there was no one who could replace him. And after Brezhnev died, the entire USSR disintegrated “in less than a decade.”

It is possible that Putin’s Russia will disappear “even while He is still alive.” The powers that be “are living each day as if it were their last; the people are silent” but only because they are struggling to survive and are afraid that the future may be even more desperate, Baranov argues.

And he concludes: “We all understand that the upcoming voting will change nothing. And from that arises even more dread.” 

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