Staunton, May 18 – Perhaps the most likely but not necessarily the most desire scenario for Russia in the coming years is that it will hobble on for several generations in a state of semi-collapse given that those who could change the situation have been silenced or driven out and those who are prepared to cooperate with the Kremlin are so numerous, Sergey Medvedev says.
The Prague-based Russian historian says he doesn’t expect to see Russia renewed in his lifetime because the Russian supporters of Putin’s regime are so well-integrated and will continue to work albeit with ever less money and technological innovation (novayagazeta.eu/articles/2023/05/18/strana-sushchestvuet-v-rezhime-upoitelnogo-samoistrebleniia).
As a result, the country will fall further and further behind the rest of the world and may periodically lash out at others precisely because it feels this and has to have others to blame for Russia’s own self-inflicted wounds. Indeed, that is a major source of war as the primary ideological principle of the Putin regime.
“Without a radical change in Russia, without the reformatting of the power system, including relations between the state and the people and between the center and the regions, without the emergence of truly independent regions and without real federalism, I do not see a future,” Medvedev continues.
The tasks that Russia faces today are the same tasks it has not managed to solve over the last century. Instead, it has remained “an empire frozen in the past, one that appeared ready to die twice in 1917 and 1991, but did not completely expire in either year.” What is especially disturbing is that Putin by his policies has compounded the problem.
Russia remains “an enormous, decaying dinosaur which walks and rots at one and the same time. It loses some body parts but at the same time, it spews fire. And for a long time to come, it will walk through the icy expanses of Eurasia, breathe fire, devour people, and cause horror in the world around it.”
At least that is the prospect “until some knight on a white horse comes and kills this dragon.”
This knight is unlikely to come from within Russia. Putin has “destroyed everything. He has made Russia a country of nullification. Science as been nullified, higher education has been nullified, and so on. Russia today exists in some mode of delightful self-destruction, one that recalls Dostoyevsky’s ‘underground man’” who sought to destroy everyone around him.
According to Medvedev, “that is approximately what is happening with Putinism. It isn’t that there isn’t a future; the future is here as a dreary extension of the present and in that sluggish decay, Russia will exist for another generation or maybe two,” just like Iran has since 1989, to the surprise and horror of its people and of those around it.