On My Mind [re: Kudrin and Pamfilova]

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – April 21, 2016)

You have to wonder what drives people like Aleksei Kudrin and Ella Pamfilova. Both were in the news this week. Kudrin accepted an offer to chair the Kremlin’s top economics think tank, the Center for Strategic Reform, and called for a fundamental restructuring of Russia’s economy and political system. And Pamfilova, who was recently appointed head of the Election Commission, raised eyebrows by canceling elections in the Moscow suburb of Barvikha after four opposition candidates complained of fraud. Pamfilova says she will resign if there is fraud in September’s elections to the State Duma. Call me cynical (although I don’t think I am), but I just don’t think the kind of economic reforms Kudrin is proposing are possible under the current regime. At best, he’ll be allowed to tinker on the margins. And call me cynical again (and again, I don’t think I am), but I don’t expect September’s election to be clean. Regime liberals like Kudrin and Pamfilova remain convinced that the Putin regime can be reformed and changed from within. It can’t. Because reforming this regime would mean undermining its corrupt foundations, which would lead to its fall. And this is not what Putin has in mind.

Article from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – ©2016 RFE/RL, Inc. Article also appeared at rferl.org/content/the-morning-vertical-april-21-2016/27688265.html