Staunton, Nov. 25 – Russia has now entered the second stage of Putin’s war in Ukraine, one in which people are no longer in shock but are being forced to recognize that the Kremlin leader has so dehumanized the population it is now “in ecstasy over the evil being done” and that only the return of the elites to power can save the country, Vladimir Pastukhov says.
According to the London-based Russian analyst, the people have been so infected by Putin’s propaganda that they must be cured before any democratic procedures can be introduced. If they are used too soon, that will not be “a way out of the crisis but another step to the next circle of hell” (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=63810940A249B).
Putin is relying on these masses to keep himself in power, but fortunately, there are enough members of the elite who are horrified by what has happened and would be in a position if they consolidated and came to power to “lead Russian civilization between the Scylla of war and the Charybdis of decay.”
Pastukhov says that “the good news is that quite a lot of healthy cells remain in the elite who would be capable of forming a new nucleus around which a reformatted mass will reassemble” once it overcomes its current “infection.” But the elite remains fragmented and needs “at least a minimal consensus on how to improve society.”
At present, the elite is split between those who want to shatter the current state and those who want to preserve it so that someone else can take power, but the fact that there is such a debate, the London-based Russian analyst argues, is in fact hopeful because it suggests that despite everything “there is still someone left [in Russia] capable of comprehension.”
Pastukhov is certainly right that Putin has poisoned the masses and that their attitudes now, were real democracy to be introduced overnight, might lead to outcomes even worse than the current one. But one wonders whether his dismissal of democracy now as a way forward might not open the way to other also unfortunate outcomes.