‘Even in Soviet Times, Nobody Believed Promises Like Putin is Making,’ Gontmakher Says

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 9, 2018)

Vladimir Putin’s new May decrees are no more realistic or realizable than the 2012 ones that even he has acknowledged have remained largely unfulfilled, Yevgeny Gontmakher says. Instead, they are slogans about the future like those the Soviet government trotted out on holidays and that no one in the population believed.

The Moscow economist and commentator told Rosbalt’s Aleksandr Zhelenin that some of Putin’s directives, such as in demography, are simply impossible of achieving given the constraints Russia is operating under while others are presented in such a way that no one can be sure whether they will be met or not (rosbalt.ru/russia/2018/05/08/1701832.html).

As for demography, he continues, Putin may hope that Russian women will begin to have three or four children, but the number of potential mothers and their family size preferences make such hopes “unserious.” And the Kremlin leader may hope for economic growth but fails to talk about any systemic changes that such growth would require.

Consequently, Gontmakher says, the May decrees are “a purely political document. All of this, if you remember, recalls the May Day slogans of the Central Committee of the CPSU: ‘Strengthen the task of the Communist Party!’ ‘Long live solidarity with the toilers of the whole world!’ and so on.”

Putin talks about how wonderful it will be when poverty is cut in half, but he utterly fails to describe how poverty will be defined or measured. As a result, no one will know whether he has achieved that goal or not, including the man in the Kremlin.

“Putin’s decree is a certain picture of the future which we have all so long sought, but I don’t know who among the broad masses of the population it will convinced. In principles, people already do not believe in such promises: Even in Soviet times, they didn’t believe; they viewed them as simply information noise.”

Gontmakher continues: “But for the government this is a kind of which.” Putin is telling them “‘I understand that these tasks are not fulfillable, but you solve them even if you fulfill them only in part and I will assess them politically. If you don’t fulfill something, I’ll say that the foreign political situation was complicated.'”

It makes a certain amount of sense to give the government directives as it is taking shape, but the problem is that Putin failed in his election campaign to provide “any ideological schemes or concepts” into which such decrees might fit. And without those, Gontmakher says, “these problems will not be solved.”

[Article also appeared at windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/05/even-in-soviet-times-nobody-believed.html]

[featured image is file photo, not directly related to article subject matter]