Monday, November 23, 2020

Putin has Forgotten Bismarck’s Warning about What a Revolution Needs to Succeed, Dmitry Gudkov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 21 – Over the last 20 years, Vladimir Putin has pursued a repressive agenda designed to eliminate all checks and balances within the Russian political system and thus give himself unlimited power, Dmitry Gudkov says. That approach might have worked if conditions in Russia were improving, but they aren’t and so it won’t.

            “If roads were being built, wages and salaries were growing, healthcare was developing and the country were moving toward a happy and beautiful future,” the opposition politician says, Putin’s strategy might have worked for him for a long time. But instead, the Kremlin leader has thrown everything he has against “an imagined revolution.”

            That is because Russia today is not governed by “an enlightened monarchy but by a mummified autocracy, which instead of promoting a better future is imposing on us the worst from the past” and because Putin has forgotten Bismarck’s observation about what a revolution needs to succeed (

            Germany’s “Iron chancellor” famously observed that “the strength of revolutionaries is not in the ideas of their leaders but in their promises to satisfy at least a small part of the moderate demands which aren’t being med by the existing powers that be.” The less the current powers are doing in that regard, the less the opposition needs to promise.

            And the more the incumbent regime redirects resources away from the population toward its coercive defenders, the more rapidly that trend will develop and work against those now in power. That is something that Putin clearly doesn’t understand or has forgotten, and it is also something that should encourage and guide the opposition. 

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