Seeking to avoid another 1991, Kremlin takes a step making that more likely, Galkina says

The old Soviet propaganda poster says: "Our union is indestructible!" The central figure in the poster depicts a Russian worker holding a book named "Marxism Leninism."

The old Soviet propaganda poster says: "Our union is indestructible!" The central figure in the poster depicts a Russian worker holding a book named "Marxism Leninism." 

Analysis & Opinion, History, Russia

Arguing that “there is no truer path to the collapse of a system than the hyper-centralization of authority,” Moscow blogger Elena Galkina says that the Kremlin has now taken a step that shows its denizens think that “if they tighten the screws, it will be possible to avoid the fate of the USSR.”

But in fact, they are repeating the errors of the late Soviet period when that empire fell apart not because it liberalized but because it liberalized and then tried to take it back first by Mikhail Gorbachev’s own turn to the right that Eduard Shevardnadze warned of and then by the ill-fated August 1991 coup.

Galkina says this is clear if one looks beyond the discussions of moving the capital from Moscow and recognizes that Sergey Kiriyenko, the first deputy chief of the Presidential Administration, has not only stated that Moscow won’t extend the power-sharing agreement with Tatarstan but made a more fateful declaration.

The Kremlin official says that “Russian statehood and the state are built not on the basis of agreement.” Not only does that contradict Point Three of Paragraph 11 of the Russian Constitution which specifies exactly the reverse but also poses a challenge to regional leaders at precisely a time when Moscow should not be alienating them further.

“The economic losses of the regional elites of the Russian Federation as a result of the insane adventures of the Kremlin in foreign affairs could be compensated by decentralization,” Galkina says. “But the rejection of competitive gubernatorial ‘elections,’ the strategic declaration of Kiriyenko, and much else” shows the Kremlin is going in the opposite direction.

According to Galkina, “it appears that in the Kremlin they think that if they respond to the challenges of ‘the new 1980s’ by tightening the screws, that is to proceed along a path opposed to that of Gorbachev, they will be able to avoid the fate of the USSR.” They are simultaneously right and wrong.

They are right that the situation they are setting up is unlikely to be resolved peacefully, but they are wrong to think that the center won’t be challenged and the country’s territorial integrity won’t be as well. After all, she says, “the hatred of the regions for the center will be much stronger than it was in perestroika” if Moscow continues in its current direction.

Galkina ends with a plea: “It is time,” she says, “for the civilized world to work up scenarios so that the toxic remnants of the last empire will not spread and cover the continent.”

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Edited by: A. N.

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  • veth

    The Trump administration has raised the pressure on Moscow and Beijing to isolate the North Korean regime by imposing sanctions on an array of Chinese and Russian companies and individuals it has accused of helping Pyongyang develop nuclear weapons.

    The measures announced on August 22 come just weeks after the UN Security Council imposed tough new sanctions on North Korea in response to the country’s first two tests of a functioning intercontinental ballistic missile — measures backed by China and Russia.

    • zorbatheturk

      Aha! Going after the organ grinder, not the monkey.

  • Ihor Dawydiak

    Elena Galkina could not have spoken in a more logical manner. Putin’s dream of resurrecting the Russian Empire should not be considered as anything more than a mirage. More specifically, the Russian dictator’s policies of external aggression coupled with internal oppression is nothing less than a recipe for implosion. As for Russia’s Grand Pederast, he will not have anyone to blame but himself for his abysmal ignorance of historical precedents. All empires are made to fail.

  • Terry Washington

    Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose- the more things seems to change, the more they stay the same in reality!

  • Микола Данчук

    Galkina must realize that any scenarios constructed from the outside world would only be used against it?
    Forced detox has no redeeming quality for the subject, this has been proven time and again.

    The question that needs to be asked is “do you want to die slowly and in prolonged agony or suffer great pain for a short period but work of a better prolonged life”?
    This decision can not be make for someone, they need to own it!
    It must be from the people, themselves, which road they will take or will they make a new path for themselves?

  • zorbatheturk

    RuSSia is toxic. It has been infected by a pathogen called Putin. This virus has led to the terminal disease of silovikitis. Systemic toxemia will soon follow. This patient is dead. Call a mortician. Bye Bye RuSSia. You shall not be missed.