Putinism isn’t the Brezhnevism of today: it’s far more dangerous and vigorous, Pavlova says

Surrounded by riot police, demonstrators in St. Petersburg carry a poster depicting Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the elderly Soviet Communists party leader Leonid Brezhnev in February 2012, with less than a week remaining before he was elected as Russian President for the third time (Image: EPA)

Surrounded by riot police, demonstrators in St. Petersburg carry a poster depicting Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the elderly Soviet Communists party leader Leonid Brezhnev in February 2012, with less than a week remaining before he was elected as Russian President for the third time (Image: EPA) 

Analysis & Opinion, Russia

Irina Pavlova, Russian historian

Irina Pavlova, Russian historian

It is fashionable to compare the Putin regime of today with that of Leonid Brezhnev, but such comparisons are deeply mistaken because the Kremlin now “is not a rickety ideological regime but a bold and self-confident one,” Aleksandr Morozov says.

In pointing to this recognition by a Moscow commentator, US-based Russian historian Irina Pavlova argues that Russian analysts need to take “the next step and recognize that the [Putin] regime has an ideology: It is a commitment to Russia being a great power or Russian fundamentalism.”

The Putin poster at a demonstration in Moscow quotes George Orwell's "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength." (Image: EPA)

The Putin poster at a demonstration in Moscow quotes George Orwell’s “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.” (Image: EPA)

That idea, she says, “unites the powers that be, the elite, the people of Russia and yes a significant part of progressive society.” As such, as Pavlova has pointed out before, it makes the Russia of today more united and more dangerous to itself and to others than Brezhnevism was.

And that is the case, the Russian historian suggests, despite all the problems Russia faces. Indeed, Pavlova argues, the Kremlin’s success in shifting the blame for those problems onto the West has helped promote Russian fundamentalism and thus become a source of strength rather than weakness for the regime if not for Russia as a whole.


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Edited by: A. N.

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  • tarawabrat

    Here’s an idea, it’s probably really lame and been done before but why not tell Putin you’ll get with his neo CoBiet plan for a neo Union of Sucker States if he’ll take every fourth employee of the Russian state, FSB included, and send them off to Cyberia to help put out forest fires and fill in pingos (explosive methane hydrate eruptions from permafrost).

    No shit,, there”s no way he’d go for it but it would be fun to watch his brow furrow.

  • zorbatheturk

    Vladimir Putin is best compared to a rattlesnake with a grudge.

    As for RuSSia being a great power, there is nothing great about it at all. It is fifty years behind the West in all spheres.