Having Rejected Liberalism, Kremlin Turning to Totalitarianism, Belanovsky Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 5 – Sergey Belanovsky, the sociologist who attracted widespread attention for predicting the 2011-2012 protest wave, now says that there has been a major shift in the Kremlin’s vision for domestic policy but so far at least not in its view of the world beyond Russia’s borders.

            He provides a list of 18 points that support his conclusion about changes in the thinking of Vladimir Putin and Kremlin insiders which provide support for his conclusions (rusmonitor.com/sergej-belanovskij-kak-nyneshnyuyu-situacziyu-v-strane-vidyat-rossijskie-vlasti.html).

  1. “Liberalism as an economic doctrine in Russia” has lost support and that puts the country on the path to a long-term and ever-deepening economic crisis.
  2. “Oil and gas incomes for the Russian budget have passed their peak and, in the future, will only decline further.” The regime has no plans for overcoming that.
  3. “Foreign pressure on Russia is already strong and will continue to intensify.”
  4. Russia is going to have to rely exclusively on its own resources.
  5. Given liberalism’s demise as a load star, the compass in Kremlin thinking has swung to the opposite pole, to Stalinism and centralization of control and distribution of resources.
  6. Interest in giant mega-projects is increasing.
  7. At the same time, the Kremlin realizes that these won’t be enough and is devoting more attention to boosting small business.
  8. The Kremlin is casting about for the resources it will need to carry out giant projects.
  9. Whatever the regime does, Belanovsky says, the Russian people will not see any significant improvement in their situation for at least 25 years.
  10. “The patience of the population is already at the limit,” and some in the Kremlin are worried about a Belarusian scenario in Russia.
  11. The Kremlin’s key problem is mobilizing the population while maintaining stability.
  12. The only way to do that, given the rejection of alternatives, is totalitarianism.
  13. In the Kremlin’s view, “democracy and ‘a Perestroika 2’ would lead to the disintegration of the country.
  14. Within limits, the Kremlin knows it needs to put relations with the West on a more stable and predictable basis.
  15. Despite all these problems, the Kremlin is prepared to fight to the end rather than making concessions it opposes.
  16. All these problems are compounded by the weakening of Putin with age and the inevitability of a transition.
  17. The Kremlin believes it must choose between dictatorship and chaos and is committed to saving the country via the first.
  18. But maintaining such a regime requires that the population have at least minimal support and some goal to hope for. The Kremlin at present isn’t providing either.

(c) Window on Eurasia

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