Putin leading Russia ever more rapidly to fascism and the world to war, Israeli analyst says

Image: TSN.ua

Image: TSN.ua 

Analysis & Opinion, Politics, Russia

Vladimir Putin is leading Russia toward fascism at an ever accelerating rate, the result, Israeli analyst Avraam Shmulyevich said, of the failures of his as yet still weak dictatorship to solve his country’s problems and of the fact that ever more “active” members of Russian elites can see this and are worried about it.

President of Israel's Institute for Eastern Partnership Rabbi Avraam Shmulyevich

President of Israel’s Institute for Eastern Partnership Rabbi Avraam Shmulyevich

“Of course,” Shmulyevich says, “Putin would prefer to do nothing;” but such an approach could lead to “the rapid and unexpected collapse of the regime” given the existence of the numerous challenges it faces, challenges that “the stagnation paradigm” can’t address.

Facing the choice between collapse and modernization, Putin will choose the latter but not the democratic transit that would be the more effective course but rather via “a mobilized dictatorship,” not only because of his own personal views, but also because there is no “social demand” for the alternative: Russians are prepared to remain “cogs” in the state machine.

Historically, Shmulyevich says, “the population of Russia is inclined to an authoritarian ideology and it now will hardly choose that of a democratic transition.” In the 1990s, Russia was relatively free, but in a few years, Putin suppressed just about all freedoms and he didn’t need “mass arrests and political repression” of the kind his predecessors had to use.

Russia’s “main problem,” the Israeli analyst continues, is its “extraordinary centralization.” But Russians at all levels are convinced that everything must be held in “one ‘fist’ which is associated with Moscow.” Any decentralization in their view threatens the disintegration and collapse of Russia. Putin has played to this and won.

Consequently, the Kremlin leader’s “most probable” course will be “an accelerated move toward fascism,” with the establishment of a harsh, cruel, and effective dictatorship which will allow for the carrying out of modernization of the country from above,” Shmulyevich argues.

Putin has in fact been quite “open” about this. His “first goal,” he has said, “is the restoration of the greatness of Russia in its military and territorial aspects.” To that end, he began with the modernization of the military and now he is putting the entire Russian economy at the service of the armed forces.

At the same time, Shmulyevich says, Putin has intensified his war propaganda, generating anti-Western hysteria, something which “stylistically is completely indistinguishable from that of Cold War times.” And since the 2008 invasion of Georgia, he has been pursuing the territorial expansion of Russia.

All this makes a major war “at Russia’s initiative” extremely likely, one that has “large chances of growing into a Third World War.” That is certainly what Putin is preparing for. Indeed, in a confirmation of Chekhov’s famous line, “if an authoritarian state builds a powerful army [in the first act], then the army most likely will be used for attack [before the third].”

Putin has even begun the process of legitimizing via ideology the use of nuclear weapons confident that if Moscow were to launch a nuclear strike in Europe, the United States wouldn’t respond. “In the heads of the Russian ruling elite, the taboo about using nuclear weapons that existed in Soviet times is [strikingly and dangerously] lacking.”

But to go to war, Putin needs a more effective elite in Russia; and that will require a massive purge, something he as yet has not been prepared to do. Many in key positions are pathetically weak and incompetent – Shmulyevich points to the fact that two Russian regions are now headed by “former professional prostitutes,” not to mention the many led by “bandits.”

Russian society would welcome such a purge, seeing it as just revenge on those who have been mistreating it. That raises the question: Why hasn’t Putin taken this step? He “doesn’t fear shedding blood either of his own people or that of the citizens of other countries, but he isn’t prepared to sacrifice that ruling class which brought him to power.”

If Putin doesn’t do this, he may be replaced by someone who will, Shmulyevich says, given that at the top of the Russian political pyramid there are many who are ready to do so. And in that case, there will be a war. But there may be one much sooner.

“The Putin project today is completely turned toward the past,” he says. “The Russian ruling class thinks in the categories of the 19th century when the success of a country was measured by the size of its territorial expansion.” In the 21st century, that is no longer an adequate measure, but Putin and his elite do not understand that.

And it is now “obvious” that their plans represent “an attempt to turn humanity back,” an attempt that will ultimately end in disaster for Russia but may pull more countries into that as well. Unfortunately, the West’s reaction to Putin’s aggression from 2008 on has only encouraged Putin to continue his expansionist goals.

The Kremlin leader can see, the Israeli analyst points out, that while the West may not approve his actions “in words, it is “de facto ready to come to terms with them. And in Putin’s understanding, this means that he can take the next step” both at home and abroad, given “the objective situation in the world and in Russia itself.”


Edited by: A. N.

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  • Mephisto

    Putin is not as dangerous as Hitler. He is much older, he is ruling over a devastated country with very low birth rate, country devastated by HIV and alcohol. He cannot amass a real army, that is why he needs to rely on hybrid warfare, information warfare, subversion, sowing corruption in other countries, instituting moles among foreign politicians. He does not have much time. He is 65. In 10 years Putin’s era will be over. What will come afterwards?

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      If the dwarf were to start a war in Europe it will be the end of Dwarfstan as we know it. His armed forces would be chewed up PDQ…… and while that happens, China will take advantage and seize as much of Dwarfstan as it wants. The dwarf may delude himself about being able to use nukes in Europe with impunity (which he won’t), but China would not hesitate if he uses them against, say, Peking, Shanghai or Harbin- or even against the Chinese army when it takes over (parts of) Siberia.
      Even a full-scale invasion of the Ukraine would result in very heavy losses indeed which the country can ill afford, and while Dwarfstan may be able to seize territory, it won’t be able to hold it for very long. The only territory he can seize without much risk is Belarus.

      • Greg

        Putin will likely take Belarus in order to surround Ukraine further. His risk is small and would not likely cost any lives. However it would prove to the weak west just what Putin is after.

        • Dagwood Bumstead

          The weak west already knows what Pedo Putolini wants- a return to Yalta i.e. all former Warsaw Pact countries to be under Moscow’s thumb again, the Baltics part of Dwarfstan etc etc.

          Yet despite knowing this for at least several years, most of our “leaders” prefer to stick their heads in the sands, hoping the dwarf will go away. He won’t.

        • Alex George

          Just be aware that there is a very large amount of weapons in Belarus, both civilian and military.

          And there is strong latent anti-Russian sentiment. This goes back centuries. Ukrainian attitudes to Russia, even now, are mild in comparison.

          Lukashenka reversed the move to Belarusian language and placed the emphasis back on Russification, but therein lies the trap for Putin – if he invades, he will just push Lukashenka and the majority nationalists together.

          • Greg

            Honestly you think Belarus will stop Putin? He will turn off the gas, Russia already has forces in Belarus. The Russian Orthodox Church has been training Belorussians for war. Belarus will give Putin a major launching pad into Ukraine and the rest of Europe, it will also provide a base to connect to Kaliningrad. The West will do nothing! Hitlers plan is being followed by Putin and he will not change course unless forced to. I so not see the West standing up to Putin until they have no choice, then it will cost millions more lives than it should have. Putin wants a major war and he fears not the West.

          • Alex George

            Everything you describe about Belarus applied to Ukraine in 2014. The Russians’ only real success was in Crimea, due to treachery, and even that wouldn’t have happened if the Ukrainians were forewarned and weren’t in confusion due to the President bugging out. As for slicing off half the country or bringing down the government, the Russians failed.

            So yes, I honestly think the odds are high that Belarus will stop Putin. And he knows it, which is why he hasn’t gone in there.

    • Czech Mate

      but still, did Hitler posses certain red button?

  • Alex George

    While I don’t disagree with the general idea, I really do question a lot of the author’s details.

    A lot of Putin’ actions and attitude can be explained in terms of the Tsars – same issues, same cultural background.

    The idea of him liquidating the ruling class is absurd – that would be like a Tsar liquidating the boyars. Not going to happen. Sure he will have some of them murdered imprisoned or exiled from time to time – they expect that and don’t doubt his right to do so.

    If things are really turning bad then reluctantly they will have him strangled, shot, stabbed, poisoned or whatever, to be replaced with someone very similar. And then they will genuinely mourn him as the little father and build his monument.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      I disagree. Stalin is the dwarf’s Great Hero and Shining Example, and Stalin had no compunction in murdering ANYONE who, in his warped mind, could be even a remote threat to his position- witness the murder of Kirov, the show trials of Kamenev, Zinoviev, Bukharin; witness also the purges and the elimination of the Old Bolsheviks, Yagoda, Yezhov etc etc. So yes, I do think that the dwarf, like Stalin, WILL eliminate ANYONE if he feels that his own position is threatened. Witness Khodorkovsky and Nemtsov, to name but two.

      • Alex George

        Exactly – to name but two. Only two. And they were liquidated because the elite as a whole were against them, not just Putin.

        I stand by my earlier post – the dwarf’s personal power is nothing like that of Stalin’s, far more analogous to that of earlier Tsars.

        • Dagwood Bumstead

          The dwarf has created a Praetorian Guard, which is under his total control. He will if necessary replace ALL of his chums, be assured. And he is increasing his powers and promoting “his” men so that he can get rid of his current chums and replace them with men who are totally loyal to him alone whenever it suits him, as Stalin did by eliminating all who were suspected of disloyalty or independent thoughtand replacing them with “his” men.

          • Alex George

            Sorry, but I don’t agree.

          • laker48

            You may be right, but time isn’t on the dwarf’s side. The purchasing power of his rubles (or rubbles) keeps diminishing at an alarming rate.

  • veth
  • zorbatheturk

    Shoot Pootin.

    • laker48

      Not yet. He needs more time to obliterate RuSSia.

  • Eolone

    Shmulyevich’s statement on armageddon is preposterous. Even Kadyrov probably has more sense than to start a war that would blow him away. To whom Shmulyevich is writing is unknown. (He does detests the US’s meddling in Israel-China economic cooperation).

    There is not that much territory Putin can grab anymore, now that NATO has built up its strength in eastern Europe. Azerbaijan? It’s population is largely Shia;and the country touches Iran, another Shia country, and one that has been aiding Russia. Back to Georgia? How will the Russians feel about another half-finished war or fiasco?

    Russia is removing its troops from Donbas the report says. Financial difficulties? Smoke and mirrors directed toward the Trump administration? Is Russia leaving behind 70% of the non-national forces to govern Donbas: Cossacks, strongmen, criminals? To follow would be an internal struggle and more cruelty, more killing.

    • Alex George

      There are also reports that as of four months ago the Kremlin began reducing the money flow to Donbas, not a huge drop, but decreasing each month.

      • Eolone

        So much the more the residents of Donbas need to worry about being approached one way or another to make up the pay shortfall.

  • Bryan See

    “And it is now “obvious” that their plans represent “an attempt to turn humanity back,” an attempt that will ultimately end in disaster for Russia but may pull more countries into that as well.”

    This corresponds to blind Bulgarian seer Baba Vanga’s 1979 prediction about Russia, stating that “Everything will melt away like ice yet the glories of Vladimir, the glories of Russia are the only things that will remain. Russia will not only survive, it will dominate the world.”

    It should also be noted that “Everything will melt away like ice” is something that is warned about by many, including SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and filmmaker Michael Moore, who did not root for Donald Trump.

    “I do think about it a fair bit,” Musk answers, explaining that part of his urgency is that we might not always have the technology to get there. Most of us instinctively assume that technology relentlessly marches forward, but there have been times before now in human history—after the Egyptians built the Pyramids, for instance, or after the multiple advances of the Roman Empire—when the civilizations that followed could no longer do what had been done before, and perhaps there’s a complacency and arrogance in assuming that this won’t happen again.

    “There’s a window that could be opened for a long time or a short time where we have an opportunity to establish a self-sustaining base on Mars,” he reasons, “before something happens to drive the technology level on Earth below where it’s possible. So does the base become self-sustaining before spaceships from Earth stop going?…I mean, I don’t think we can discount the possibility of a third World War. You know, in 1912 they were proclaiming a new age of peace and prosperity, saying that it was a golden age, war was over. And then you had World War I followed by World War II followed by the Cold War. So I think we need to acknowledge that there’s certainly a possibility of a third World War, and if that does occur it could be far worse than anything that’s happened before. Let’s say nuclear weapons are used. I mean, there could be a very powerful social movement that’s anti-technology. There’s also growth in religious extremism. Like, I mean, does ISIS grow…?”

    He’s right to be worried about Donald Trump (whom he now works for) and Putin.

    Michael Moore said that “Historians in the near future (because that may be the only future we have) will mark today, March 28, 2017, as the day the extinction of human life on earth began.”