Sunday, May 19, 2024

By Making Almost Everything a Question of Security, Putin has Opened the Way to Dictatorship and War, Kazantsev-Vaisman Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 16 – Since coming to office in 2000, Vladimir Putin has made almost everything a question of national security and used that to destroy all the institutions that had restrained him and opened the way to dictatorship and war, according to Andrey Kazantsev-Waisman.

            The Russian political scientist who lives in Israel draws on the work of British scholar Barry Buzan and his Danish colleague Ole Wæver in the 1990s on what they called “the securitization” of politics (

            Kazantsev-Waisman argues that “securitization is the favorite method of authoritarian regimes” because “with its help, they neutralize the democratic and legal limitations which had existed in societies” justifying such steps because of what they are able to convince many are existential threats to the country.

            Putin has proceeded further in this direction than most, presenting first Chechnya and then all the federal subjects as threatening to disintegrate the country unless Moscow restored control, then presenting the increasing independence of former Soviet states as the same, and finally blaming the West as such.

            Two factors worked in Putin’s favor, the political scientist says: high oil prices which gave him the resources to act without regard to others and a parallel securitization of American policy after September 11, a development that limited Western criticism and in some cases brought him Western understanding and support.

            But this approach can prove self-destructive, Kazantsev-Waisman says. “The more extraordinary measures are taken in its name, the greater the fears in society.” As a result, “the state of total security in a paradoxical way is transformed into a state of total insecurity” with all political action necessarily and in an ever intensifying way becoming “a special operation.”


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