Russia vs. Soviet Union

 

Georgian Journal is opening one more dedicated column – ‘Notes from Russia’ lead by the young Russian independent journalist Alina Zubareva. We were encouraged by the thought that it is not so easy in today’s Russia to speak up, but our new author has enough nerve and guts for this.

This is the first article of the new column, introducing our new venture. It is strongly hoped that a truthful word from Russia will only work towards better understanding of the Russian political culture by our valuable Readers.

 

Current political and economic climate in Russia is often compared with that of Brezhnev era – the same power of bureaucracy and special services, the same dependence on oil prices, the same style of administering power, the same blah-blah-blah, the same masses of naively believing people, and most importantly, the same horrible feeling, that you cannot change anything: your vote in the elections will never be accounted for and your participation in any functional political party will have no influence on actual politics.

And still, today’s Russia is very different from the former USSR. For example, unlike the Soviet elite, Putin's elite does its best to uphold the image of Russia as of a democratic country and does not make any conclusive unthoughtful steps towards a totalitarian state. The reason for this is very simple – the Russian bureaucracy has very strong ties with Western countries. This means the accounts in western banks, a lot of property in European countries and overseas habits to have vacations at the luxury western resorts, and the proclivity to send children to the best western schools. They cannot even imagine how they can go without all those fringes.

And one, even more essential thing! Now we have the Internet. And the bigger is the Internet community the better the people know the real face of the current Russian authorities. I think you have heard about Alexey Navalny, one of the most famous bloggers in Russia. In his Internet-project Rospil.info he reveals the instances of corruption in the Russian governmental structures. As long as the Internet exists in Russia and becomes more and more popular, the current policy of the freedom restriction will provoke more discontent. This might mean something in the long run. Hopefully, we will not have another Russian Revolution inspired this time by the Internet community. I would be seriously afraid of such scenario because Russia’s history has clearly corroborated poet Alexander Pushkin's words about “Russian riot”: It is ever “senseless and merciless”.

Anyway, Russia needs liberation of political life more than anything else, and I imagine that the changes will come very soon. I think that Vladimir Putin, whose policy is aiming only at reinforcement of his personal power, will not be able to hold the throne for more than one more presidential term. Too many people in the country are waiting for changes and they are freethinking and active enough to win the battle for their civil rights, their Constitution and their children's future. These are current students and young well-educated professionals, small and middle-size entrepreneurs, managers of Russian and international companies, and simply thoughtful people. All of them have absolutely natural ambition for being well-off, almost all of them faithfully pay taxes into the Russian treasury and all of them have a very reasonable question for our strongman: “What are you doing here, Mr. Putin?” Putin has stayed in the USSR, which he is always very nostalgic for. And the Russian people want to move on.

So please be a little patient with us the Russian people – we will some day soon have our say which will shake the world. And when Russia starts changing, which is inevitable, the entire world may look different – not worse though, only better.

 

NBR Note:

I am afraid I cannot fully agree with the author because I don’t believe that change is possible in Russia without an abrupt shock therapy, be it revolution or any other mass movement. But this should not be our concern! The Russian people have enough wisdom and courage to make a good decision thereupon. Hopefully!