Systemic Liberals and Communists Helping to Keep Putin Regime in Power, Shevtsova Says
(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 17, 2017)
It has become a commonplace to observe that “the Kremlin is losing control of the situation” and that it is using “preventive repressions” against not only its obvious opponents but even its own followers, Liliya Shevtsova. But despite regular predictions of its imminent demise, the Putin regime remains entrenched in office.
There are many reasons why this is so, reasons reflecting the political culture of the country; but one of the key sources providing the Kremlin with “a cushion” against change deserves more attention than it has often received, the Russian commentator argues (svoboda.org/a/28791261.html).
This source involves “the discrediting of the leading ideological trends and their party formation which form the essence of normal politics.” Instead of such people playing their expected and necessary roles, they have become among the regime’s chief props and have yield the political arena to others who also help the regime stay in power.
“A special role in the imitation of ideological-political life is being played by ‘the systemic liberals.’ They not only took part in the rebirth in Russia of the system of personal power, but it is precisely they (and not the siloviki) who today are the decisive force in securing the continuity of this system.”
“What would the Kremlin do without Nabiullina and Dvorkovich, Siluanov and Oreshkin?” Shevtsova asks rhetorically. “‘The systemic liberals’ not only guarantee the economic resource for a degrading construction and thus extending its life but also deprive liberalism of the opportunity to become an alternative to autocracy in Russia.”
In a similar fashion, the KPRF is also a prop for the system, the Russian commentator says. It ensures the channeling of left-wing protest in directions that do not threaten the Kremlin and thus “has become an obstacle on the path of the rebirth in Russia of independent left-wing forces, including social democracy.”
Without these trends, the political field would seem to have been left to the Russian nationalists, but they have been gelded by the Crimean Anschluss and the regime’s crackdown against their leaders, Shevtsova continues. Those who remain outside of prison have become “allies of the authorities and have lost their anti-regime tone.”
The absence of any political channels for the expression of grievances leaves the population with only one option: the street. And that channel, Shevtsova says, almost certainly will be brutal reflecting the brutality that has been visited upon it by the current occupations of positions of power.
Those members of the liberal or left elites who thought they could cooperate with the Putin regime and change it from the inside should recognize that any possibility for that has been ended by the arrests of Belykh and Ulyukayev as well as by the unending replacement of governors with those who are little more than cogs in the Putin machine.
In short, Shevtsova writes, “the Kremlin has closed the question of the reformation of Russia ‘from above’ and ‘from within,’ leaving society only one scenario-the scenario of the street revolt. And what else could one expect if the powers that be aren’t prepared to lift the cover on the bubbling teapot?”
And that has another consequence everyone should face up to: “Any mass street protest always is directed at destruction and not at construction, toward radicalism and not compromise, to one-man leadership and not the search of coalitions, and finally to revenge and not forgiveness and peacemaking.”
The Putin regime, “seeking to secure itself eternal survival has prepared a symmetrical response. And the harsh force from above is today, the more powerful will be the future response of those below to force. And no one can anticipate when this cause and effect link will go into effect, a year from now or five years? Or perhaps tomorrow?”
But whenever it is, the protests that will bring the regime down will “put off the real transformation of the system” because they will represent only the change of the occupants of the positions of power and not of the regime itself. “Regime change without a change in principles will lead to the reproduction of autocracy albeit with different persons in charge.”
[Article also appeared at windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/10/systemic-liberals-and-communists.html]