Staunton, June 16 – Much of the Russian opposition is deceiving itself that Putin will eventually be ousted and Russia will be transformed in the directions its members want; but the reality is that darkness has descended over Russia and that ousting Putin will not achieve what they predict but will require decades of hard work, Dimitry Savvin says.
The editor of the conservative Russian Harbin portal which is based in Riga says much of what the various strands of the Russian opposition are saying highlights their lack of understanding of the nature of the situation Russia finds itself in now and will find itself in after Putin leaves the scene (harbin.lv/zima-budet-dolgoy).
Savvin says that the repressive steps Putin has taken guarantee that he or someone like him will be in power for a long time and that even when he and they leave, the hard work of transforming Russia will only be starting again. God willing, Russians will have another chance to make changes irreversible, but they won’t unless they face up to the extent of the challenge.
That challenge is three-fold, he continues. First, the system that Putin has put in place tends to reproduce itself because it is congruent with the Soviet system supposedly democratic Russia succeeded. Second, the desire of Russians to be recognized as a great power makes it far harder to tolerate remaining far from the top as the years of transformation will require.
And third – and this is perhaps most critical – far too many members of the Russian opposition act as if change will come magically and that with almost any new man in the Kremlin, the world will be transformed. They made that mistake 30 years ago, and they show little or no sign of learning from it and recognizing how much hard work lies ahead.
In short, the Russian opposition of today talks and acts as if it is running a spring when in fact it must recognize that it is only at the beginning of a very long marathon. To win such a race requires in the first instance recognizing what kind of a race you are in. That is something the Russian opposition has refused to do or even recognized its need for such a step.
Russians often look at what the East Europeans in general and the Baltic countries in particular have been able to do over a relatively brief period; but they forget that in fact these countries have been working in more or less the right direction already for three decades, have outside help from the West, and do not have to overcome imperialist and revanchist impulses.
As for Russia, Savvin argues, “Putinist neo-Sovietism sooner or later but inevitably will shift to perestroika rails. Changes will begin. And if God is merciful we will have the chance to make these changes irreversible. But only then will begin our real work” and that work will take decades to accomplish and be threatened at almost every step.
That too needs to be recognized now, as bitter a lesson as it may be, the conservative Russian nationalist says.