Monday, June 27, 2022

Russia has Too Many Bureaucrats, Revolutionaries and Passive Observers but No Real Politicians, Pastukhov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 8 – In Russia today, there are no real politicians, only bureaucrats, revolutionaries and passive observers, Vladimir Pastukhov says. And if today’s revolutionaries come to power, they will not by themselves create a space for politics here: they will only recreate the current situation.

            The transformation will be more apparent than real, the creation of an Alice in Wonderland-type world in which everything is turned on its head: that which was bad will be declared good and conversely, the London-based Russian analyst argues (

            But if the revolutionaries on hand cannot create a space for politics, if a revolution as they imagine it won’t work, what will? Pastukhov asks rhetorically. The answer is obvious: What is needed is not “a routine change of power with the replacement of bad leaders by good” but rather “’a big bang’ which will form not simply a new state but a new civilization.”

            “Such an historical explosion practically is never the result of the realization of a rational plan in which people act guided by their economic or political interests,” he continues. “It always is the result of the victory of a movement, altruistic in its nature which is grouped around particular ideas.”

            According to Pastukhov, “a real revolution which changes not the powers that be but the course of history, however strange this may seem, is always irrational” and involves the efforts of people “’not from this world’ who need not power and even more not money but the realization of a certain idea in which they have almost a religious faith.”

            There were too few such people in Russia in the 1990s, and that is “one of the main reasons which condemned the post-communist experiment there to failure.” The intelligentsia sold out any altruism for privatization. And that means this: “the deaths of Men and Sakharov mean much more than we are accustomed to think.”

            Talk about altruism may seem absurd and impossible to Russians as their country enters its third decade of Putinism; but the fact that such altruistic revolutions haven’t happened at any particular time and place does not mean, Pastukhov argues, that revolutions driven not by a desire for power and money can’t happen in principle.

            Indeed, the London-based Russian analyst says, Russia is “ripening for such an historically turn” given that it has passed “through all the circles of hell.”  “I’m not saying this will happen tomorrow or even in ten years, but when it does, those who want to build such a society and policy must have prepared the building blocks.

            And they must do so, Pastukhov concludes, even if it is entirely possible that they will not live to see the edifice they want to build fully constructed.

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