Friday, January 20, 2023

Complete Moral Collapse of Systemic Liberalism Makes Russia’s Return to Yeltsin-Gaidar System Impossible, Shelin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Jan. 18 – The complete moral and ideological collapse of systemic liberalism in Russian, usually designated by its Russian contraction, sislibizm, means that there is no possibility of going back to the Yeltsin-Gaidar norms of party and government life, according to independent Russian commentator Sergey Shelin.

            (Sislibizm was perhaps best and most succinctly defined by Andrey Illarionov as “an ideological trend which used quasi-liberal and completely liberal rhetoric to justify illiberal political practices and the strengthening of an anti-liberal political regime” (

            The founders of the Russian state in the 1990s were sislibs, Shelin says, the most prominent of which were Boris Yeltsin and Yegor Gaidar but there were others as well. And as such they bear responsibility for what happened even if the outcome, a return to authoritarianism or worse wasn’t their desire (

            But and this is the critical point, he continues, “none of the remaining founding fathers of the Russian Federation or their heirs tried to interfere, dissociate themselves, or at a minimum explain themselves. This is a complete spiritual catastrophe for themselves and the state they created.”

            And because, Shelin concludes, “the Russian Federation of the early 1990s has no other supporters around except for the backers of the Putin regime, then a Russia different from the one now in place, if that is possible at all, can be built only from scratch.”

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