Putin = Andropov & Medvedev = Gobachev?

The indispensable Paul Goble offers a fascinating perspective on Russian history, showing how Russia is ripe for a new collapse:

Twenty-five years ago today, Mikhail Gorbachev became CPSU general secretary and, in response to the problems that the Soviet Union then faced, launched the policies that collectively came to be known as “Perestroika” and ended with the demise of the communist system and the Soviet Union as a state.

Now, on this anniversary, a Russian analyst argues, the Russian government finds itself in a bind that recalls the one Gorbachev felt himself and the Soviet system to be caught in, simultaneously wanting to maintain an authoritarian government and to launch the kind of economic reforms that could allow for economic progress. But given that the Russian powers that be and the Russian people both have the experience of Gorbachev’s time and have a new and more powerful kind of glasnost, both are fearful that any radical change in course now could easily have just as a radical and unwelcome set of outcomes as reforms promoted by the first and last Soviet president’s did.

On the Delfi.ee portal, Fyodor Krasheninnikov, a political consultant who gained notoriety for his dystopian novel, “After Russia,” notes that “few remember” now how perestroika reflected this tension and in fact grew out of the Andropovite idea of “acceleration.”

In his first months, the Russian commentator notes, Gorbachev pushed his program by arguing that “socialism is of course the best system and it is developed, but it is necessary to speed things up for a time and then finally there will be butter and perhaps even sausages on the shelves.”

“If one speaks in human language,” Krasheninnikov continues, “then the situation [at the start of Gorbachev’s time was] very similar to the present-day situation regarding modernization.” The powers that be now recognize they cannot afford to leave current economic arrangements where they are but they do not know what specifically they should do. That is because “the chief condition of the Andropov-Gorbachev policy of acceleration and the present-day Putin-Medvedev policy of modernization is not to change the basic foundations of the political system” even as the former and the present rulers feel themselves compelled to consider reformation of the economy.

“It must be said,” the Russian analyst continues, “that in the middle 1980s, acceleration didn’t go further than slogans.” And relatively quickly, these slogans gave way to the ideas of glasnost, perestroika and democratization, although none of those ideas was directly presented by Gorbachev at the start of his time in office. And glasnost proved to be the most powerful.

In many ways, the analyst says, today there is a similar process, but there is one big difference: “No one among us had to declare glasnost as a policy, but it exists and in levels which in the mid-1980s simply could not have been possible.” This is the result of the Internet, he insists, and it is not something the powers that be can control or avoid. More and more people turn to the Internet for news, and this focus has forced even the channels of information under the control of the current regime to take note in many cases of what the Internet sites and bloggers are saying, even and perhaps especially when the latter are featuring stories critical of the regime.

That marks a major shift from the mid-1980s. At that time, the smallest breakthrough in reporting was “a sensation,” even though those sensations now would be viewed as barely worth noting. And “no underground samizdat or Western radio stations could even come close to competing with what the Internet is doing today.” Again, Krasheninnikov stresses, Russians “are dealing now not with glasnost declared from above but with glasnost spontaneously arising from below which no one permitted and therefore no one will be able to prohibit.” And from that he concludes, no one should expect that another round of “perestroika” will be something declared from above either.

Today, the official news outlets may be able to ignore some protests, even though almost everyone knows about them because of the Internet, “but this is only for the time being. As soon as this barrier falls, then everything will begin.” Some had thought that the programs in the regional elections might be the trigger. “But what elections” are people really talking about when the only thing people are focusing on is “what difference there will be between the percentage of the vote United Russia received and what percentage the marionette opposition does?” That’s what Sunday’s vote is about, a vote that resembles “the last Soviet-era elections of 1984.”

That vote did not matter for the future of the Soviet Union, and the upcoming elections do not matter to the future of Russia, Krasheninnikov insists. But thanks to glasnost declared from above after the former and now the glasnost that has arisen from below, there have been and more important will be again “different elections and an entirely different history.”

51 responses to “Putin = Andropov & Medvedev = Gobachev?

  1. Well… maybe. Maybe not.

    We don’t know how many Russians want and need change (and change is scary). We don’t know what they want instead of Putin. We don’t know when regime will collapse – in 2 months or 20 years? We don’t know what will come instead.

    I strongly dislike Putin’s regime but I think what may come instead, especially if he rules for another decade, is very nasty ultra-national fascist anti-western regime.

    Russians were squashed slaves in 1990. Now they are still slaves but not so much squashed. What they really need? Very probable that their freedom is the same or even worse than Palestinian freedom. I have strong feeling Russian situation reminds me more and more not of Eastern European soft revolutions. It reminds me more and more of beginning of 20th century. There is abyss ahead…

  2. “Russians were squashed slaves in 1990”
    Squashed by Gorby’s criminal Western-backed regime,yes…
    And his destructive campaign against established central planning economy( that worked for 50 years) …called the Perestroika(should be Za’ebstroika )

    • Dino, don’t comment my messages. Don’t waste time. Go to North Korea and help communism there. They need heroes like you.

      • I’m just exposing your retarded lies.
        I look forward to hearing more of this crap from you.
        And,DPRK is not communist,it’s Juche,you ignorant

        • Lazy Russians destroyed central planing that worked for almost 50 years.
          Too many vodka and too littler working in factories?
          Lazy Russians are poor and want to blame Western people for their mistakes…

          • Hey European RETARD!
            Russia was the first country that implemented central planning in economy.
            It was destroyed by WESTERN AGENT-TREACHEROUS beast GORBACHOV.
            In regard to your calling Russians Lazy:see the accomplishments of early Pyatiletkas,unbelievable industrial transformation of the country.

            • Western agent Gorbachov? Please – what drugs are you on? Life isn’t a James Bond movie! You have just made yourself look like a fool.

      • Alex,
        Why Dino should go to North Korea – the best place for him would be gulags of Russia e.g., Workuta, Magadan, and thousands of more Russian/Soviet death camps – our little Dino should feel comfortable there.

        • Bugger off,moron.
          North Korea is not communist.
          Vorkuta wasn’t a “death camp”
          Go eat hamburgers or play RPG’s and stop trolling.

    • Dino, please stop using internet and PC, cause those are achievements by evil capitalist West.

      • Very well said ttc…

        Anyone with half a brain knows almost everything was invented in a capitalist system.

        Poor Dino doesn’t realize how good he has it yet…

      • ttc,

        Please stop buying clothing, toys and things in general. Pretty much everything these days is made in evil communist China.

        • China is Communist only in their rhetorics and in the system of political oppression. Economically, however, it is as capitalist as anybody. I am sure you know that. That’s why they are able to produce so much and Communist phraseology does not prevent them from doing that. When China was truly Communist (meaning economically, as well as ideologically), it produced very little of interest.

          • Political oppression combined with capitalism? Sounds like China is modeled after the right wing Chilean junta.

            • Yes, I think you are right, and that’s exactly what it is in China today — political oppression combined with capitalism. So, I do see some similarities with Chile. Of course, China is a much more repressive society in terms of curtailing political freedoms than Chile ever was under Gen. Pinochet.

              • Would you care to compare the number of civilians killed by Pinochet with those killed by the Chinese government in the last 10 years?


                Finally, a military coup overthrew Allende on September 11, 1973. A military junta, led by General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, took over control of the country. The first years of the regime were marked by human rights violations. On October 1973, at least 72 people were murdered by the Caravan of Death.[39] According to the Rettig Report and Valech Commission, at least 2,115 were killed,[40] and at least 27,265 [41] were tortured (including 88 children younger than 12 years old).

                • Well, if you count all those executed for their organs in sham trials, plus the ongoing murderous campaigns against the Tibetans, Uighur and so on.

                  The Chinese government is worse.

                • Sure, there were victims in Chile, as many as over 2,000 according to your numbers. I do not try to whitewash the Pinochet regime. But you ask to compare to China. I am sure if you find the numbers for China, it’s going to be a lot more in Tibet alone. And there are many deaths among political prisoners etc. Remember, according to Amnesty International, there were 1,000 dead in the Tyananmen square alone

                  • And based on the usual murderous rampages by socialist governments, can you imagine what the death toll would have been like in Chile if their home grown communists were in charge?

                    Just look at the purges in republican (communist) Spain for a good example.

            • Ah yes RTR! why don’t you stick to the subject matter of this blogg. As per your usual waffling you have brought irrelevant subjects that have nothing to do with the discussion. With you stupidity is definitely a virtue!

              Two opposite doctrines, Chile and Sino-China, and you lump them together for comparison purposes, what sheer stupidity. And then to compound your stupidity further, you have the audacity/temerity to compare Chile’s human rights abuses while being totally silent about Sino-China’s far, far greater human right’s abuses.

              Classic communist propaganda! by steering away from your beloved soviet communists and pointing elsewhere. Good try jerk, but again it didn’t work.

          • Political oppression if not a component of Communism.
            In communism there is no repression since there is more class conflict.

  3. Dino,

    ”(that worked for 50 years)”

    Are you completely insane?

    Really, can someone contact this little sprog’s parents and have him grounded?

    • I wonder where he got all this Communist drivel. Is that what they teach in social studies in high schools in Croatia?

      • No. In high school, Marxism is only mentioned in sociology, philosophy and in a class called “Politics and economy”, without going much into detail. In history class all the most important communist atrocities are mentioned (e.g. Holodomor, the most mentioned figure for Stalin’s victims is 20 million dead) and the atrocities of communist Yugoslavia. But, in Croatian history books communism still isn’t given as much attention(read:criticism) as fascism, which can be explained by the lingering communist mentality in many Croats, which still isn’t eradicated like it is in Poland. Though thankfully, the level of denial of communist atrocities is nowhere near Russia.

    • ‘Naw’ too late, Dino’s parents should have flushed him down the bathroom sewer once he was born. Can you imagine the excellent service they would have done humanity, had they done so.

      Now we have to put up with the warped trash he spews forth at an alarming rate! Because it’s definitely not going to get any better, only worse, far worse.

    • WAL
      Restrain from such crap.
      You don’t even see outside the bubble of your illusion.
      Read,learn the goddamn definitions and then reply,if you have something constructive to say(though i doubt)

    • I’m 18 you limited-brain.
      I CERTANLY know more about Socialism than you.
      I’s what i do in my free time.Read and think.
      If you have something smart to say,than,say it,and i’ll retract this statement:you’re a moron

  4. It’s a mummy/daddy thing.

    This rubbish always starts in the home.

    • Well, then no hope that the parents would ground him, and we will just have to endure

    • Here in Croatia it is indeed a family thing. The grandparents of most leftists today in Croatia have fought in the partizans in World War II. Not all partizans were communist, but the higher echelons of the movement were indeed faithful servants of Tito, and of Stalin.

      • So, the way it broke down in WW2 is that most Croats were big fans of the Nazis, and most of those Croats who fought against the Nazis, were Communists?

        Isn’t this the crux of the matter here: most russophobes are nazi-lovers who can’t forgive the Russians for destroying their dreams of Aryan hegemony?

        • No, most Russophobes are humanitarians who despise the Russian state for it’s long history of criminality, repression, and genocide.

        • The only thing the Croats cared about is breaking away from the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and having their own country. They didn’t care with whose help they will do this. It turned out that Germany and Italy were much more interested in a Croatian state than Britain and France, especially Serbophile France.

          Also, the people quickly became disillusioned with the new regime, because the Croat regime handed Istria and Dalmatia, our most valuable provinces, to Italy. The economic situation was also dire. That’s when the partizan movement started rising, and over time it became more numerous and stronger than the Independent State of Croatia.

          Until 1944, it was mostly a Croatian movement, and the communists were a minority. Only after the Red Army entered Belgrade did Serbs out of pure fear start to leave the Chetniks (which were labeled as Nazi collaborators at the Teheran conference) and join the partizans en masse, and building a communist society became one of the main goals. Also, it should be noted that the Russians never entered Zagreb, and that the defeat of the Croat fascist regime was done almost completely with local forces, with Brittish and American help. Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia were under partizan control. It was Red Army’s grip on Serbia, Yugoslavia’s largest republic, that prevented Tito from building strong ties with the Western allies.

          So, the reason I don’t like modern Russia is not because it defeated fascism, which I don’t support, but because it failed to became a democracy after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

          And by the way, Croats are Slavs, not Aryans by the Nazi definition.

          • Thanks for that information “hroboatos”, quite interesting.

          • Interesting indeed.

          • Hrbatos,

            Unfortunately, your Croat government is not telling you the truth. In Yugoslavia, there were two main groups that fought against the Nazis and their Croat Ustashe allies: Chetniks and Partisans. I will leave the Chetniks alone here, but the Partisans were pro-Soviet Communists from the very start:


            from Encyclopædia Britannica

            Serbo-Croatian Partizan – member of a guerrilla force led by the Communist Party of Yugoslavia during World War II against the Axis powers

            Germany and Italy occupied Yugoslavia in April 1941, but it was not until Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June of that year that the Yugoslav communists were ordered to mount attacks against Axis units. Under the direction of the party leader, Josip Broz Tito, Partisan detachments conducted small-scale sabotage until September 1941, when they occupied the Serbian town of Užice and proclaimed a liberated Užice Republic. The Partisans’ clear intent to go beyond national liberation to create a socialist federation alienated them from the Chetniks, who were mostly Serbian soldiers loyal to the exiled king. The two forces also fell out over atrocities committed by the Germans in reprisal for acts of resistance; the Chetniks wished to avoid provoking such atrocities, but Tito calculated that they would drive yet more people into the resistance. Even after the Partisans were forced to retreat into the mountains of Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, they attracted enough recruits to designate themselves the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), with elite Proletarian Brigades selected for their fighting abilities, ideological commitment, and all-Yugoslav character. In November 1942 Tito demonstrated the strength of his movement by convening the Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Yugoslavia, which eventually became a provisional government…. By the end of 1943 the PLA had grown to an estimated 300,000 troops and had diverted a significant number of enemy forces from other Allied fronts. In October 1944 Partisans took part in the liberation of Belgrade by the Soviet Red Army.


            The Yugoslav Partisans, or simply the Partisans, were a Communist-led World War II resistance movement engaged in the fight against Axis forces and their collaborators in Yugoslavia during the Yugoslav People’s Liberation War (being part of World War II) from 1941 to 1945. The Partisans, led by Marshal Josip Broz Tito, were a communist faction, the main goals of which were the liberation of Axis-occupied Yugoslavia and establishment of a communist state.

            the defeat of the Croat fascist regime was done almost completely with local forces, with Brittish and American help.

            No, it wasn’t. Why would Brits and Americans want to help Communists fight against fascists in Croatia? All the fighting against the fascist Ustase government and their German masters in Croatia was done by Tito’s communist Partisans in general and the two armies in particular: the Yugoslav 1st Army, under the command of Peko Dapčević, a Serbo-Montenegrin Communist, and the Yugoslav 2nd Army, under the command of Koča Popović, a Serb Communist. However, the Nazis were so strong that they were never completely defeated in Croatia. Instead, Zagreb was taken by the Communists only after Germany surrendered on May 7-8, 1945. But Croat “patriots” and the remaining German Nazis continued to fight on, until the Communist Partisans finally defeated this scum on May 15:


            On May 2, the German capital city, Berlin, fell to the Red Army. On May 7, 1945, the Germans surrendered unconditionally and the war in Europe officially ended.

            On May 8 1945, the Yugoslav 2nd Army, along with units of the Yugoslav 1st Army, entered Zagreb, which had been evacuated the previous day.

            Despite the German capitulation, however, sporadic fighting still took place in Yugoslavia. On May 7, Zagreb was evacuated, on May 9, Maribor and Ljubljana were captured by the Partisans, and the Commander-in-Chief of Army Group E was forced to sign the total surrender on Wednesday May 9, 1945.
            From May 10 to May 15, the Yugoslav Partisans continued to face resistance from Croatian and other anti-Partisan forces throughout the rest of Croatia and Slovenia. The Battle of Poljana, the last battle of World War II in Europe, started on May 14, ending on May 15, 1945 near Prevalje in Slovenia. It was the culmination and last of a series of battles between Yugoslav Partisans and a large (in excess of 30,000) mixed column of German Army (Wehrmacht Heer) soldiers together with Croatian Ustaše, Croatian Home Guard (Hrvatsko Domobranstvo), Slovenian Home Guard (Domobranci), and other anti-Partisan forces who were attempting to retreat to Austria.

            • Oh dear RTR, making a fool of yourself again?

              “In 1943 Britain sent military missions to both Mihailović and Tito to ascertain which was the better bet in defeating the Germans, and thus worthy of military aid. The favourable reports of the senior British officer at Tito’s HQ, Brig Fitzroy Maclean, plus accusations reaching London that Mihailović was collaborating with the Germans, caused the British to divert all support to Tito, and increase the quantity of aid substantially, a decision confirmed by the ‘big three’ at the Tehran Conference that November.

              The accusations against Mihailović need to be treated carefully, because there is evidence that in mid-1943 Tito himself actually concluded a temporary truce with the Germans in order to defeat Mihailović’s Chetniks (an understandable lure for the Germans, who were keen to see the elimination of at least one guerrilla band). German-Partisan hostilities were soon resumed, but Tito had established his force as the dominant resistance movement. In September 1943, Italy concluded an armistice with the Allies, which brought almost four divisions worth of men with their equipment over to the Partisans, and gave the British a base across the Adriatic from which to supply them more directly.”

              Then there was the British manned and equipped “Balkans Air Force” which provided direct air support to the Partisans, the large British aid effort, the military instructors, the SAS & SBS troops that were sent to fight alongside the Partisans..,

        • RTR with these words of yours ” Isn’t this the crux of the matter here: most russophobes are nazi-lovers who can’t forgive the Russians for destroying their dreams of Aryan hegemony?” What utter bullsh*t – you are lying again! oops I mean STILL – you poor excuse of a lying ruSSian moronic JERK!!!

          Why don’t you ever tell us about your beloved Soviet ruSSia and the tens of millions of men, women AND CHILDREN that they murdered in their drive for trying to attain world supremacy at all costs.

          You should return to your desk at Putler’s ‘Nashi’ offices, or where ever you put in time to make it look like you are working AND where your unbelievably stupid lies will find a more receptive audience. But here your stupidity just knows no bounds and only impresses the likes of self called ‘experts’ like Dino.

          And may I remind you that phonetically the word expert is made up of two syllables, they are “eks’ and ‘spert’. The first syllable – ‘ex’ or ‘eks’ is an unknown quantity, whereas ‘spert’ is a DRIP UNDER PRESSURE!

          Having said this you now know where your type stands in my view – and you do not need to be a rocket scientist to work it out. So just put your tail between your legs and “vamoose” so that the rest of us can continue to have sane discussions without your worthless and lying propaganda.

  5. Russia will have to face dramatic social upheaval if it is to modernise its commodity driven economy. Currently 80% of the Russian labour force works in large heavy industry. Only 20% work for small to medium companies, contrast this with the USA where 50% are employed in the small business sector alone, this now creates two thirds of all new jobs in the US.

    The problem Russia faces is; many of these large unyielding industries are heavily subsidised, they will need to contract, introduce new technologies to reduce labour costs if they are to be competitive and profitable, this process if fully pursued will produce mass unemployment, and put simply because of poor planning Russia does not have a fall back position i.e., a robust small to medium business sector.

    Russia is caught in a catch 22 situation, they need to use the revenue generated by gas and oil to dramatically overhaul the economy, unfortunately if they pump too much money into modernisation the rouble will dramatically rise in value making Russia uncompetitive, that’s why they have to draw off much of this revenue into a “stability fund”.

    Putin has failed the Russian people, modernisation should have been in full swing since 2000 unfortunately after 10 years of this idiot very little has been achieved, and the economic crises has wiped out a third of the stability fund established during the boom years 2004-2008,

    Sorry to say Medvedev as president has made no difference…. Putin and Medvedev are the two cheeks of the same arse,

    • Regarding “stability fund”. In reality half of it is spent already. Another half will be finished this year.

      Current Russian budget is in deficit when oil is below 105$ per barrell.

      That’s one of many reasons why I’m so pessimistic (realistic) about Russia’s future.

      And don’t forget that when many many people got used to big bribes during last 5-10 years, what will they do when it all crushes? And many of them have direct relation to enforcement agencies and secret services, which compete with each other…

  6. Yes your right Alex half the stability fund is spent, I should have said a third of Russia’s “reserve fund” is gone, this fund includes the pension fund I hope they don’t touch that!!!.

    • They already “united” pension fund with reserve fund which means in other words – they are spending it.

      Pension reform failed and they don’t care about it. Especially funny when they ask Echo Moskvy (semi-free) radio station, owned by Gazprom, to put advertising regarding pension. It desribes advantages of asking your employer to pay to pension fund part of your salary… In reality pension fund is already opened and I don’t think any of the money which were held there will reach prospective pensioners.

      That’s what you get when you don’t have political rights.

  7. up yours all Russophobes and Nazi, paranoid Republicans:

    Not only Obama passed the historic bill last night, he also got his student loan legislation passed on the same bill. A lot of the federal grants that traditionally went to private lenders are now going to end up back in the hands of students where they belong.

    The congressional budget office predicts the health care portion of the bill will actually reduce the deficit and while the republicans did successfully dilute the bill down to a level where even more money will be poured into the health insurance companies, it still seems like this is a good place to start from. the fact obama managed to pull this through, AND get his student loan initiative passed at the same time as he is attempting to revamp and standardize education testing across the country is pretty impressive. it demonstrates a coordinated strategy on his part to reshape some of the basic drivers in the US that is holding it back.

    I would imagine energy reform will be next.

    Also – looking at his concentration on domestic poilcy, it really speaks to where his priorities are in term of spending. the second round of TARP is actually making money for the federal government (AIG aside) and while the mission in Afghanistan is incredibly flawed/expensive, he has laid out an exit strategy. Despite the rhetoric in the media and by republicans, taxes have gone down for 95% of Americans and gone up for the top 5%.

    The scope of what he is attempting is huge and passing this health care bill is a big part of it – symbolically, this is gigantic.


    • You’re really naive if you think Obama is a socialist.

    • What does it all have to do with the topic at hand or with the substance of this blog? There are plenty of message boards devoted to the U.S. domestic politics, your comments belong there, not here.

  8. Let’s talk about Putin. Why did his words appear so desperate when he lectured Sec. of State Clinton? Is he really sweating it that much?

  9. Dino is hilarious!

    The 18 yo bedroom academic accusing others of being ‘mastubatory’!

    Keep it up Dino! The appendage you’re typing with is going to fall off one day!

    • Well, you have noticed where his thoughts are; and I’d say that where they should be for every normal adolescent boy.

      That’s why I advised him to get a girl. But he assured everyone here that he already has one. So,I don’t know what his Freudian slip is all about…

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