Hey, hey, ho, ho: Here’s why Putin has got to GO!

Vladislav Inozemtsev, editor of the Svobodnaya Mysl journal, writing in the Moscow Times:

Although I signed my name to the Internet petition under the slogan “Putin must go,” I only endorsed the main idea of the petition — that Russia must change the economic and political course set by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin — and not necessarily all of its individual points. For example, I don’t agree that President Dmitry Medvedev is the servile stooge that most of the petitioners make him out to be, and I am convinced that it is possible to modernize Russia without completely destroying the entire ruling regime. Moreover, in opposition to the words contained in the petition’s manifesto, I believe that Putin has done a lot of good things for Russia, and I don’t think that it is necessary to investigate how he became wealthy. Nonetheless, I do agree with the main thesis that Russia no longer needs Putin.

After becoming president in 2000, Putin singled out the country’s main enemies and threats and took steps to neutralize them. He also placed Russia’s chief sources of wealth under government control. It is unclear how much of this was motivated by Putin’s desire to gain personally, but what is clear is that he wanted bring stability to Russia after the chaotic and lawless 1990s.

But when a leader tries to enforce stability at all costs, it inevitably conflicts with the laws of nature. Imposing stability on a long-term basis is always an artificial process that requires keeping society within predefined limits. Those limits inevitably stifle the country’s development, diversification and private initiative, and they suffocate the business sector’s ability to be innovative and entrepreneurial. “Forced stability” is a recipe for political and economic stagnation and degradation.

There are five main reasons why Putin is an obstacle to development:

1. The government has been transformed into one big business under Putin’s rule. Everything in the country is bought and sold — except real economic results or technological breakthroughs.

2. The leadership has no strategy for driving the country’s development. The authorities lack a clearly defined vision of the future, and they compensate for that by trumpeting empty slogans.

3. Official propaganda gives Russians an extremely distorted image of the real world. China is painted as a close Russian ally, and the Kremlin’s black PR campaign portray the opposition as “fifth columns” that are on the payroll of foreign nations. This propaganda, however, is based on lies and disinformation.

4. Russia is not developing its industrial sector but is focusing on controlling the country’s main energy and financial sectors. It is unclear how Putin-friendly Bank Rossiya based in St. Petersburg gained control over SOGAZ, Gazprombank and other assets, nor is it clear why the Gunvor trading company — a private company with 2009 revenues of $53 billion and co-owned by Putin ally Gennady Timchenko — is needed as an intermediary in one-third of all Russian oil exports.

5. Hiring decisions for key state and corporate positions are based largely on people’s loyalty to Putin. It is thus no surprise that many of the so-called “Golden 1,000” managers are inept. Perhaps this is one reason behind the 8.9 percent drop in the country’s gross domestic product in 2009 — the deepest downturn among the Group of 20, despite favorable external factors and steady economic development over the same period in India and China.

Russia’s economy is sliding downhill. Its dependence on imports is increasing while exports are decreasing. Most disturbing is Russia is losing ground in its core economic sector and most important source of growth — energy. In 2004, Russia extracted roughly five times more oil than all other countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States combined. In 2008, this figure was 3.6 times more. Even more dramatic, in 2004, Russia extracted 9 percent more natural gas than the United States, but in 2009, it produced 10 percent less gas. Day by day, Russia is sinking deeper and deeper into a systemic economic and political crisis.

It is crucial that Medvedev’s plans to modernize the country are implemented, but this is impossible as long as Putin and his cronies continue to undermine Medvedev. As political analyst Gleb Pavlovsky correctly observed, Putin is one large myth and nothing more. And the sooner Russia abandons the myth, the better.

9 responses to “Hey, hey, ho, ho: Here’s why Putin has got to GO!

  1. I think you’re wrong about Medvedev and at the end of the day he is a stooge. His plans are all talk, I bet when it comes to implementation nothing will be done.
    Removing Putin won’t be of much help, Russia has more serious problems than its leadership, and one of them is the people. It’s one thing when a country gets a dictator once or twice but when they just keep coming one after another and when even the most democratic leader of the country’s recent history has no qualms about using tanks to deal with a dissenting parliament, then obviously the problems run much deeper than one particular man

  2. I think removing the testicles of all Russian males who drive black cars or wear pointy, woven top shoes would be a good starting point.

  3. Elections remove old, tired leaders and allow a new start. Removing Putin and his goons would help.

    Why am I posting something as obvious as this??

    • In Russia leaders get old but they never get tired of being at the trough. In Russia we’ve had the same set of politicians doing their thing in Moscow for the past twenty years. Putin is just one of the gang, they’re a team. When it was time for him to be replaced as president, a lot of the old guard who were now sucking up to him wrote petitions begging him to amend the constitution and stay on (notably this old guard included film director Sergey Mikhalkov) but Putin was cool about it, he said ‘chill, I’m a trooper, there will be a job for me after I step down’ and eventually there was, shortly after being elected president Medvedev appointed Putin prime minister.
      I remember right after Putin named Medvedev as his successor, a joke started circulating in the ru.net that the article of the Russian constitution about presidency reads as follows:
      the President of the Russian Federation is elected for a period of four years by the incumbent President of the Russian Federation.
      Russia had a very brief brush with democracy in the early 1990’s and then by the mid 1990’s Russian politics were back to the old bulldog fights under the carpet routine described by Churchill. Take Putin for instance, he was a nobody in the Russian political scene when Yeltsin pulled out of total obscurity in 1999 and announced to the country this was the man he wanted to see as his successor and then a totally mind-numbing propaganda campaign was launched to make Putin a household name among the Russians. Regrettably the corner stone of that campaign was the second Chechen war, the FSB blew up a number of apartment blocks around Russia, then Basayev, who I still strongly suspect was a GRU agent all along, invaded Dagestan and the TV and mass media started making the non-entity that was Putin into the kind of strong hand tough leader that Russians were thought to have been longing for throughout the Yeltsin years. Shame really, especially the fact that this cheap and bloody stunt worked.
      Although I do believe that as time went by Putin’s approval ratings became increasingly bogus.

  4. the FSB blew up a number of apartment blocks around Russia

    Even a patented Russophobe stooge Segey A. Kovalev didn’t afford such a chutzpah to support this allegation ;-)

    • C’mmon Berezovsky keeps swearing on a stack of bibles it was the FSB and he was the shaker and mover at the time, he knew things. His mistake was that he thought once he revealed this dirty truth the public opinion would turn against Putin, but no, Russian people only believe what they choose to believe and since they were in love with Putin at the time Berezovsky first came out with these accusations, they simply chose to ignore them.

    • Litvinenko supported it.

      And he died of polonium poisoning.

  5. Chang Wei Ching

    I think Putin Chinese. I think he smart, he? I think Obama afro-america, he not smart. I think hey hey ho, Obama will go. Putina wil stay, I think.

  6. Chang Wei Ching:
    ” I think Putin Chinese. I think he smart, he? I think Obama afro-america, he not smart. I think hey hey ho, Obama will go. Putina wil stay, I think.” (c)
    ————————-

    Thanks for your plain English Chang Wei Ching.
    It made it easy to get the “hey, hey, ho, ho” message. I was touched beyond measure.
    The rest of the Larussophobe company seem to be far-fetched to me.

    China is s a real thing!
    Putin will stay.
    OK.

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