Saturday, December 16, 2023

‘Biggest Mistake’ is Thinking that Because Putin is Reviving Parts of Soviet Past, His System will End the Same Way, Venyavkin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 11 – Many people see how many aspects of the Soviet system Vladimir Putin is restoring and think that his system will end in much the same way that the Soviet one did, Ilya Venyavkin says. But they are missing how much has changed and in ways intended to prevent that outcome.

            In reality, the Russian cultural historian now working at the Russian Independent Media Archive in New York says, those in power now have studied what led to the end of the USSR and have taken steps to prevent any repetition (

            As a result, there is “nothing” to suggest that Putin’s Russia will end the same way. Putin and his team have asked themselves repeatedly “why did the most powerful Soviet Union fall apart in a single hour?” and then they have taken steps to ensure that the same things don’t happen again.

            They have worked to ensure that consumer goods remain plentiful and state planning doesn’t get in the way of economic growth. They have formed security groups that are prepared to shoot large numbers of people if the regime is challenged. And they have crushed any open protest movement lest it grow into something more.

            This does not mean that the Putin system is eternal, Venyavskin concludes . It too has its problems. But it does mean that assuming what happened to the Soviet Union in 1991 will happen again and in the same way is almost certainly a dangerous self-delusion on the part of those who make that assumption.

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