EDITORIAL: Russian Apes, Scratching Themselves for our Bemusement


Russian Apes, Scratching Themselves for our Bemusement

Once again, just when you think Russia has found a the bottom, it sink so low that its previous position looks like a mountaintop.

Last week the world was appalled by the issuance of a formal report from the United Russia political party, Russia’s party of power, the party of Putin and of Medvedev, condemning the very institution of democracy itself, supposedly a political party’s sole reason for existence.

Get this:  When Russia is rich, it has plenty of time to become democratic so it doesn’t need to rush things. And when Russia is poor, it has no time to waste on “luxuries” like freedom, because it must bear down on the economy.  In other words, Russia has no need for democracy of any kind at any time at all.

Why, then it would need political parties — unless of course it is recreating the single-party USSR — defies explanation.

United Russia’s think tank called the Institute of Social Forecasting published the report, and Paul Goble reports that the Vedomosti newspaper quotes the report as follows:

It is difficult to recognize the political system of Russia as a liberal democracy. Governors are appointed in much the same way that obkom first secretaries were in communist times, and the media now resembles that of the stagnation period. There is now an imitation of party democracy of the kind that existed a generation ago and just like in Soviet times, in Russia today, it is better not to have any dealings with the militia, whose members are corrupt and largely unrestrained by law or the courts.

You might think that this frank admission calls for democratic reform, but the ISF calls such reform “harmful and useless” in light of Russia’s economic downturn.  The ISF feels that crisis management requires “leadership” and that, in turn requires “charisma,” something that does not fit all that well “with ordinary competitive democracy.” It urges Russians to recognize that “democratization is far from the only path to effective rule.”

It’s quite insane, and based entirely on totally ridiculous lies.  The implication that Russia would pursue democracy more actively in economic boom times is utterly false; Russia abolished the election of governors and crushed independent TV and newspapers, as well as wiping out opposition political parties, during the boom times.  Equally dishonest is the implication that Russia has tried democracy.  Not once in its entire history has Russia held a truly competitive election, so it has no idea what its fortunes would be if that occurred. Russia game Communism more than seven decades to work, yet it will not give real democracy even a single election cycle.  Boris Yeltsin’s only serious opposition came from the Communists themselves, and Putin has no opposition of any kind.

This report must be seen as yet another open attack by Putin upon Dmitri Mededev.   While Medvedev’s silly statements about liberalization are obvioulsy nothing but propaganda, nonetheless they are his propaganda, his identity.  He blogs, he met with Novaya Gazeta.  He’s the progressive voice of United Russia.  And now the party has formally declared his ideas “useless and harmful.” It’s just one more step towards his being thrown under the bus as Vladimir Putin returns to power,this time as “president” for life.

38 responses to “EDITORIAL: Russian Apes, Scratching Themselves for our Bemusement

  1. “In times of war and crisis, a successful political system becomes charismatic, and therefore, inevitably more authoritarian. A storm requires a captain,” the report said.

    Except that during the 8 years before the financial crisis hit Russia, in the oil revenue fat days, “charismatic” Captain Putin was tightening the screws.

    Russians do have choices and the technology to organize themselves in bigger cities. The knock on the door at night and a one way trip to the Gulag aren’t in place on a large scale, at least not yet. Only when Joe Sixpack decides he’s had enough of the Kremlin’s duplicity will change happen.

    I’m not holding my breath on that happening anytime soon.

  2. For fairness sake, I would say that the 1996 presidential election in Russia was reasonably competitive. Yeltsin barely won! The same goes for parliamentary elections in the 1990s (regardless of the fact that they mostly produced anti-democratic parliamentary majorities).

    Actually, in a certain sense IFS may be right. Offered full democracy, Russian Joe Sixpack will probably bring to power something like LDPR or the Communists, if not worse. Maybe in Russia, Lilliputin’s autocracy IS the lesser evil…

  3. Kaktuss,

    Maybe in Russia, Lilliputin’s autocracy IS the lesser evil…

    This is the eternal questions that has been debated in Russia for last 150 years. Seems like the choice is always between different shades of tyranny – from Czar vs. Lenin to Putin vs. Zhirinovsky.

    Amazing Yulia Latynina has an article on this very topic. Noting that Mao and Hamas had strong popular support, she is wondering what makes electorate out of lemmings. Her answer – accumulation of private property. Property owners are more likely to elect the rulers that respect property rights; and penniless peasants are will elect either communists (who will confiscate and redistribute) or terrorists (who will blame everything on the war with external enemy).

    I don’t know… Seems that there are enough countries whose experience flies in the face of this hypothesis (eg., India). Maybe there is indeed something in the national character that makes people welcome the tyranny? I was in Soviet Army for two years – I saw enough soldiers to convince me that it is so: you are hazed the first year, and you are hazing the second year. And we have enough samples on this board that lead to the same conclusion.

    Anyway, as I said – this has been discussed for 150 years. I don’t think it will be answered in out lifetime!

    • > Property owners are more likely to elect the rulers that respect property rights

      In 1933, German property owners elected Adolf Hitler who promised to rid them of their Jewish competitors as head of the state… The rest is history. :-(

      • Or in 1999 when Russians elected Putin who promised to rid them of their Chechen competitors…The rest is history :-(

        • With the only tiny difference: concentration camps on one side — and on the other side, the country-highest population growth, huge federal financing (at the expense of MY taxes. Why the hell am I financing them?), building Hagia Sophia-like mosques, the biggest in Europe and so on. These are the facts.

          • You forgot to mention the ongoing use of \”filtration\” centres, the burning of houses, the extra-judicial murders.
            The tens of thousands of \”missing\” (presumed tortured to death) civillians etc.

            • Andrew, pity you didn’t have a chance to visit “free Ichkeria” in 1996-1999. Maybe if those “civilians” kidnapped you for a ransom, put you in a zindan (an underground prison) and shot your fingers off before a video camera so that your relatives would gather money to ransom you quicker, that would provide you with some enlightment what the “proud mountaineers” really are.

      • Just out of curiosity, Eugene, do you know what the full name of the Nazi Party was?

        • No problem. National Socialist German Workers’ Party.

          • Good. Notice the Socialist and Workers’ Part? Nazism was sold not on Capitalism and property rights, but rather typical anti-business, anti-foreigner Populism of the Putin-Chavez variety. Given, though that Hitler put more emphasis on Nationalism than on Socialism. It is also true that the Conservatives attempted to co-opt Hitler when they appointed him Chancellor, but the closest modern parallel is Yeltsin anointing Putin as successor in order to get someone who wouldn’t prosecute him than it is of the actions of the Western Democracies.

            • No. Actually Hitler was supported by big business. But yes, he was a socialist and also a pan-german nationalist. He’s in no way similar to Putin or Chavez. Hitler was better, actually he was pretty good. Putin and Chavez suck.

              Anyways, comparing nazism with modern day ideologies is pretty lame. Different time, different pretty much everything.

    • Felix, as always an excellent comment.

      Private property rights, home ownership, small businesses, an expanding middle class would make a world of difference in Russia. But, there seems to be an obstacle in the Russian psyche that doesn’t engage their interest in those concepts for long. Worse, all of the above are too often held in contempt by your basic sovok.

      Is it just too alien for a culture that was collectivist even without Communism? And, then, factor in the culture of suspicion and envy for which Russians are notorious.

      Russians share a lot of the urban ghetto – culture of poverty – pathology that we see here in the US of lawlessness, bad personal choices, substance abuse(alcohol), bad work habits and a refusal to take personal responsibility.

      A whole lot of old sovoks, petty thugs, alcoholics, feckless workers and female gold diggers are going to have to die off before Russia can advance, but, then, whose left in numbers that matter to make a difference.

      • Penny, must we just have all those “old sovoks” gassed or shot? :-(

        • eugene,

          That thought never crossed my mind, but since you made a suggestion that pleases you, you can decide which of your suggestions you should implement.

        • Yes. But I think hanging is better than shooting or gassing them. To hang someone you just need rope. But it’s not as fast as shooting.

  4. More Russian apes behaving badly


    Seems Russia “approves of” and “welcomes” the results of the Iranian elections, and by extension the shooting dead of at least 7 opposition supporters.

    No surprises there.

    • Oh sure they do. Criminal scum “lovin” each other…

      Besides keeping Ahmadenijad would help Russia in blackmailing US and the rest of the world in UN and other places…

  5. James, Russia has a vested interest in order to restore high oil prices in keeping unrest going in the ME.

    Ahmadenijad’s continued threats to nuke Israel is a valuable asset toward that end for them.

  6. What really need to be done is to have a Nuremburg style crimes against humanity tribunal to punish Russia for its crimes of the 20th and now 21st centuries.

    If the tribunal recommended gassing or shooting for the sovoks, it would be a small recompense for the tens of millions who died under Russian opression.

    • Andrew, the problem with a Nuremberg tribunal is that to establish it, you have to <win a war against the country in question and occupy its territory.
      After so many futile attempts to do it, and with Russia being a nuclear country, the probability of such a turn of events is negligible.

      • Oh thats very true Eugene, but it does not stop Russia from being guilty of massive crimes against humanity.

  7. Interesting how the operators of this blog tolerate calls for mass-murder.

    But, what to expect of anti-semitc, racist, and homophobic cowards?

    • What calls for mass murder?
      I was talking of punishment for the Russian leadership.
      Karma, you seem to miss that the Russians are bigger anti-semites that the Nazi\’s
      Though you do seem to have a twisted world view.

      • > the Russians are bigger anti-semites that the Nazi\’s

        Did they have 6 million Jews gassed in gas chambers and murder-buses? :-(

        • Several million jews dead in Gulags and mass graves amongst the 62,000,000 or so murdered by the Russian government in the 20th century, not too mention all the anti-semite pogroms that the Russian state instigated in the 19th century, and anti-semitism is still a central part of Russian “culture”.
          No longer the case in Germany.

  8. A eport on the increase of anti-semitism in Russia from late last year.

    Click to access 012909NCSJ_Russia_A-S.pdf

    And from the late 90’s:

    Amidst these difficult circumstances there has developed an increased sense of insecurity among Russian Jews, who in recent months have confronted strident anti-Semitic rhetoric in the political arena on both the national and local levels and a number of highly public acts of anti-Semitic violence.


  9. la rusafobe – in what sense of your activity?


    We’re trying to make Russia a prosperous democracy rather than a bankrupt dictatorship. In this instance, we want to move towards that end by documenting an outrageous step backwards by the party of power.

  10. I am sorry, la russophobe, by I agree with your nick
    if not with you conclusion.

    A people get the leaders it deserve, look at Turkey this minute, getting taken over by Islamists
    and America taken over by subversives…

    The will of the lemmings have spoken!


  11. Guys, I am sorry but can any one explain to me what crimes exactly has Russia done against humanity? I just do not recall one… to me Russians are uncapable apes! Thank you!

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