Saturday, February 13, 2021

The More Putin Concentrates Power in His Hands Now, the More Violent the Power Struggle will Be Later, El Murid Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 12 – Anatoly Nesmiyan, who blogs under the screen name El Murid, says that the Putin regime as a personalist dictatorship is rapidly approach its end if for no other reason than the Kremlin leader is aging and lacks the resources needed to carry out yet another transition that might put in place a system which would prevent violence after he goes.

            Putin holds power now as a result of his creation of “complicated, often completely unresolved contradictions among members of his entourage and therefore his death will automatically trigger intense elite wars in which there are no rules and no compromises, Nesmiyan says (

            Those in the top elite will be drawn to simplifying the situation and that means, El Murid continues, that it will seek the destruction of other parts of the elite, “physically or politically depending more on culture characteristics than on humanistic considerations. For Russia, the physical destruction of political opponents is the norm and therefore a harsh fight is guaranteed.”

            Because of his age, Putin lacks the time to put arrangements in place to prevent that; and because of declining resources, both financial and personal, he lacks the means and desire to do so. He doesn’t have oil money flowing in and thus must take from those he earlier gave it to, and his own popular legitimation has been falling to unprecedentedly low levels.

            Indeed, El Murid says, these factors could trigger a collapse even before Putin physically leaves the scene. To prevent that, Putin is turning to ever greater reliance on force; but that in turn, by concentrating power in his hands and spreading fear among others, is likely to produce results in the long term exactly opposite the stability he craves.

            It is widely recognized that “any terrorist dictatorship” of the kind Putin appears to be putting in place “is always the last phase of any regime which takes the risk of using it for the prolongation of its existence.” It starts a war with elites and the population, and “therefore terrorist dictatorships do not exist long. They consume themselves.”

            As powerful as those factors are in other countries, they are even more so in Russia because of its size, complexity and uneven development, all of which contribute additional instability, El Murid says. Knowing all this, one might have expected as he did that the elite would seek to prevent any moves in that direction out of a sense of self-preservation.

            But it appears, he concludes, that the Kremlin leader and the Russian elites around him have chosen “the very worst” option not only for their country but for themselves as well.


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