Staunton, May 3 – There is a direct and negative relationships between the length of time Vladimir Putin remains in power and the likelihood that Russia will stay a sovereign state in more or less the same borders it has now, Vladimir Pastukhov says. The longer he remains, the less likely that is going to be the case by the middle of this century.
Speaking on Ekho Moskvy’s Personally Yours program, the London-based Russian analyst says that Russia did not succeed in making the transition to a post-industrial society in the late 1980s and early 1990s and now is retreating into an ever more archaic form of industrialism, something that leaves it in the position of a satellite falling out of orbit (echo.msk.ru/programs/personalnovash/2831944-echo/).
This has been obscured in part by Putin’s victories in Georgia and Ukraine and by his intimidation of parts of the West, Pastukhov continues, but one must remember that all of these have been achieved by resources left over from the past rather than from the development of more modern methods. Russia lacks these, and it will fall further and further behind.
“Technologically,” he says, “we will not survive the competition” with those who are more advanced, as we have already missed the chance to break through into the premier technological league.” For the moment, there is a certain “inert stability,” but that won’t last; and the Putin regime is thus putting the future of the country at risk.
If Putin remains in office for a long time and continues to eat up the reserves left over from Soviet times, Pastukhov says, “I do not see a single reason why after 2050 Russia should be able to continue to exist as a single state.” Moscow’s belief that China will help it do so only shows how little Moscow understands about China.
To avoid such outcomes, Moscow must change course, seek to develop a law-based state, with an independent judiciary and real democracy. Only with those can Russia hope to modernize and respond effectively to the technological and cultural challenges the rest of the world presents it with.
Such a leap forward, Pastukhov says, is possible, but not if the country continues to function within an authoritarian framework. “China can, but Russia can’t because it is a country of the Judeo-Christian pattern.” Russia must find “its own form of modernization,” and that requires a return to perestroika, to cooperation with the West, and an end to government by theft.
Unfortunately, Putin is not the man to do it, the London-based Russian analyst says. He “lives in another reality.” Earlier, he was cynical but pragmatic, but now he is “under the influence” of an ideological vision which consists of “an eclectic mix of Black Hundreds nationalism and communism.”
As a result, the Kremlin leader “sincerely believes in two things: that all domestic political problems he faces are only the function of the evil influence of the West which must thus be opposed and that it is his historical mission to restore in one form or another the USSR and Russia as an empire.”
Given those beliefs, Putin’s actions are rational. But given the reality of the world today, they are irrational and destructive. And now they are prompting him to move from fighting the opposition to fighting any difference of opinion in the population, something that will not only compound but accelerate the arrival of disaster.