JRL NEWSWATCH: “Bulldogs under the rug; Russia’s new purges rattle the elite; No one is immune in the Kremlin’s in-fighting” – The Economist

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

“… [Mikhail Abyzov’s] arrest has … demonstrat[ed] to the Russian political class that everyone is vulnerable, unless … personally protected by … Putin. All must live in fear. … corruption is omnipresent, the rule of law is selective and property rights are dependent on the will of the Kremlin …. [with] a pattern of growing in-fighting and repression among elite groups … consum[ing] oligarchs, governors, senators and mayors who had all considered themselves protected in the 2000s. … [T]he wave of cinematic arrests – many carried out at night – have prompted comparisons to the purges of the Bolshevik party in the 1930s. … unlike Stalin’s campaign, today’s repressions are neither underpinned by an ideology nor accompanied by propaganda. Those who know how … Putin operates say he makes decisions on a case-by-case basis, rather than executing a coherent plan. … [W]hether the arrests are centrally co-ordinated or not, they are part of a political process … shaped by [Putin’s]waning popularity … and … consequent need to reaffirm his legitimacy. … The new purges might be less severe in scale and violence than those of the 1930s, but are driven by the same predatory instincts. …”

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