Staunton, December 18 – Vladimir Putin “very much wants to be leader of the nation,” Dmitry Milin says; but in fact, he is “only the leader of a few small strata of oligarchs, bureaucrats and siloviki.” The situation could not be otherwise because “there is no single people in Russia; there are only strata with various rules (formal and informal) and obligations.”
“In Russia,” the Moscow commentator says, “there is no ‘WE,’ there is no equality of rights and obligations.” Instead, there are strata with various rights and obligations. A nation, which tried to be born after the collapse of the USSR, failed to emerge and began to actively fragment into various strata and return to pre-national, strata-based feudalism.”
As a result, “instead of the formation of a nation, which arose in Europe after the Great French Revolution, Russia moved in the opposite direction of a return to strata and the replacement of citizenship with subjecthood to ‘the tsar’ … a process which is called DEGRADATION” (newsru.com/blog/18dec2020/rus_nat.html).
Because Russians in these various strata do not consider themselves equal to those in others, they do not form a common nation, and their ruler can’t base himself on something which died before it could emerge, however often the tsar talks about basing himself on that imaginary community.
Under Putin, each stratum and substratum has its own rights and responsibilities and views others not as part of a common whole but as competitors for the attention of the ruler or even enemies of itself. That system is not only fully visible to the naked eye but is being strengthened by laws that treat people in this way.
Bureaucrats have one set of rules and one pension system. The siloviki have another, and the population at large still a third. Members of one can’t really aspire to become members of another, and instead, each works to deal with a situation in which the children of a stratum will continue to be its members even after their parents’ death.
Russia still has to create “a nation of equal citizens,” Milin says; and to do that, it must begin by “liquidating the strata-based privileges, above all the separate pension systems for bureaucrats and ‘siloviki’ and also eliminating all external signs of strata” like blue lights that allow the cars of the preferred strata to ignore the rules imposed on everyone else.