Saturday, April 23, 2022

Russia’s Technocrats Aren’t the Liberals Some Imagine but Rather the Gravediggers of Democracy, Skobov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 14 – The way many Russian liberals continue to act as if former president Dmitry Medvedev is one of their number recalls the reactions of what the Soviets called “useful idiots” in the West to all kinds of Soviet claims, according to Moscow commentator Aleksandr Skobo

            Such people, he says, continue “to view him as a more liberal alternative to Putin’s dictatorship because of his oft-cited statement that ‘freedom is better than lack of freedom.’ It never occurs to them that this was precisely a mask adopted for taking in liberal fools” (

            This mislabeling of Medvedev, Skobov says, is fully consistent with the view of some that Putin’s ruling clique is divided between the siloviki and systemic liberals and the idea that the latter are “seeking to uphold liberal principles ‘within the limits of the possible’” in Putin’s system.

            But that is nonsense, Skobov argues. “In fact, Chubais, Kiriyenko, Nabiullina, Gref and the rest are more correctly called not liberals (even systemic) but technocrats,” people who support what passes for economic liberalism “only as a technology of ‘effective management.’ The real values of classical liberalism – freedom, law and democracy – are alien to them.”

            Technocrats claim to be free from ideology, but in fact, their system of believes is not only an ideology but “an authoritarian-oligarchic one, the ideology of ‘the power of the best’ technocrats, professionals and effective managers,” the Russian commentator says.

            They are “ready to tolerate democratic institutions but only as a toll for effective manipulation.” And because that is the case, it is precisely “these people who killed democratic institutions in Russia and did it far more efficiently than the security forces.” Worse, Skobov says, like others formed by an authoritarian-oligarchic ideology, they tend toward fascism.

            Just how far they are prepared to go in that direction can be seen in the arguments of Sergeytsev about the destruction of Ukraine and Ukrainians.

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