What to do with Russia? This formulation of the question is the most relevant and justified. Because without external intervention, I mean ideological intervention, the problems of this country are unsolvable. And nobody would care if the country didn’t take such risks and with such consistency. There is no hope that Russia will be able to understand this on its own, let alone solve it. It’s time to commit to understanding it, accepting it, and ceasing illusions about it.
How to overcome the disgusting trichotomy: heroic past, miserable present, bright future? How do we reorganize Russia? In the last thirty years, all attempts to reform Russia have mostly been reduced to a few oxymorons. It started with a great and democratic Russia. But then it turned out that Russia can be either great or democratic. The logic of development then developed to the point where it became clear that Russia could be either united or democratic.
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Once it was discovered that this was not possible, various approaches to the “DE” emerged. Democratization, demilitarization, deputation, de-Stalinization, denuclearization, decentralization and the like.
In my opinion, they all have one major flaw. Contrary to historical experience, they are based on a bet on Russia’s reformability. Any talk of reforming Russia is, of course, empty theory. This system is unreformable. What do we want to reform? Instead of a state, there is a structured corruption system that loots publicly under the protection of the Kremlin. How many more times should one attempt to reform an irrational system and expect a rational effect? The greatest folly is to repeatedly make the same mistake and still hope for another better result.
1) Irrationally vast territory constantly creates:
– the illusion of inexhaustibility of resources, which makes it impossible to create an effective system of government;
– makes it impossible to truly unite people around common ideas and interests;
– disrupts effective ties and communication.
In this context, one can refer to the statement of the Russian philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev: “Cultural and truth-seeking people must live in small groups and communities.”
2) The irrational political system is unreformable because it does not represent a normal pyramid of power based on people and regions, but an inverted pyramid based on the Kremlin. The object of power in Russia is power itself. The Russian people have never been either the subject of power or the subject of positive change. Attempts at federalization and democratization failed precisely because they did not rely on free people.
3) An irrationally large territory and an irrational structure of the state entail equally irrational costs for rational and conscientious subjects of economic activity. The economic reforms of the 1990s, despite all their positive impact, did not lead to the creation of an effective innovative knowledge economy. This is largely a redistribution of rent from sources with extremely low added value.
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4) It is a system without owners. About a criminal conspiracy, which legally guarantees no rights to anyone,. There are no real full owners. This was confirmed in the cases of Yukos Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Russian businessman Yevgeny Chichvarkin, who refused to be blackmailed by the Kremlin. Subsequently, the Bashneft company appeared, the property of the former Moscow mayor Yuriy Luzhkov, Baturin, etc. And after the attack on Ukraine, it turned out that all Russians, starting with Putin, were playing a fake game.
5) The Russian intelligentsia, as the subject of the great Russian culture and bearer of the nation’s cultural code, could not en masse get rid of the imperial core of this culture. Moreover, it contributes not only to the discrediting of culture, but also to its dehumanization. If before we could limit ourselves to stating that “fascism aestheticizes politics and communism politicizes culture”, now we could say that Piotrovsky, Bashmet and Georgiev (the head of the Hermitage, a musician and a conductor, all supporting Putin, ed.) do both suddenly. According to Mikhail Galkin’s definition, it makes no sense to talk about the LGBD group, founded by people like Leps, Gazmanov, Baskov, Dolina (so-called patriotic Russian musicians, editor’s note) in this regard.
Democratization is impossible. Democracy is not only the power of the people, but also the power of individuals. If personalities are absent, the power of the masses breeds the dictatorship we are witnessing. Liberalization is also impossible. Both first create a mass of recipients and then rely on the Russian matrix or the Russian idea. Even Putin’s departure will not solve any fundamental problems.
So the question arises. If the system is irrational, then it is logical to assume that the only effective way to reform it is rationalization. Is it possible to rationalize people’s thinking in this system? First Deputy Head of Presidential Administration Sergei Kiriyenko said that during the “special operation” in Ukraine, politicians must satisfy the public’s need to be proud of their country, continue to work on its consolidation and convince Russians that the crisis is a time of opportunity for themselves.
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The conclusion is obvious. Rationalization of the political system and the economy is almost impossible in the current system. Next year, the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment wants to start fining polluting companies for exceeding emission quotas in the amount of 5-10 percent of their revenues. The newspaper reports that in such a case, Nornickel would have to pay 47-95 billion rubles to the state, Severstal 31-61 billion, Rusal 9-18 billion and Evraz 25-50 billion rubles.
The Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), where Putin’s daughter Katerina Tikhonova is now in charge of “import substitution”, says such fines could bankrupt businesses. In April, in connection with Western sanctions, the State Duma, on the other hand, proposed to reduce environmental requirements for businesses. It is just another argument that proves that with the current cost structure in Russia, there is business primarily in the form of devastation of nature. Real technological breakthroughs are needed to rationalize it. However, this is impossible under current levels of property protection.
I myself was one of the serious innovators in Russia, but neither the patents, nor the country’s standard developed on their basis, nor their international recognition could prevent a group of officials headed by the first vice president of VTB and at the same time the chairman of the Public Council of the FSB Vladimir Titov from destroying my business.
There is one more aspect that cannot be overlooked. All the conclusions of former Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov about the natural expansion of Russia, all Putin’s nonsense about Russia not ending anywhere, Sergey Lavrov’s growls about expanding the borders of “special operations” are nothing more than expressions of their ideas about rationalization. There is another possibility of rationalization.
It is a choice between a very bad option – Russian rebellion and a bad option – Russian problems. So the only way to rationalize is to rationalize. better said the division, the territory of the Russian Federation into smaller units.
The author is a Russian businessman living in the Czech Republic.