The recent arrests of Russian government officials Abyzov and Ishayev like the earlier ones of Belykh, Ulyukayev and Serebrennikov are harbingers of still more arrests and clear evidence that “any effort to establish a dictatorship in Russia will end with one that resembles Stalin’s,” Yevgeny Ikhlov says.
What is happening now is what happened earlier: when the ruler runs out of resources, he turns to the liquidation of his own subordinates to ensure his power, the Russian commentator says. [quote]That is what Stalin did in the 1930s; it is what Vladimir Putin is doing now.[/quote]
Unfortunately, Ikhlov continues, “there are in Russia no social patterns (behavioral and ideological models) of despotism except for Stalinism.” And consequently, “any attempts to create a dictatorship in Russia will end with a Stalinist dictatorship” with almost all the features of that regime.
[quote]Once again, “wreckers” will be found, the ruling class will have to be destroyed, and propaganda will become increasingly shrill in pointing to conspiracies linked to foreigners.[/quote] And as a result, repression will once again be “the only reliable instrument of constructing society” according to the desires of the ruler.
Of course, there is this difference, Ikhlov says. “Stalinism cultivated asceticism and collectivism while Putinism as one would expect from a fascist-type phenomenon atomized individualism and private ownership of property.” But that difference does not change the underlying nature of a dictatorship in the country.
[quote]“Our ‘Stalinist-Hitlerite’ system knows only two universal methods of solving domestic crises – a great (eschatological) war or a great (anti-nomenklatura) terror.”[/quote] Now, “when all resources of militarization, xenophobia, and imperial revanchism appear exhausted,” Ikhlov concludes, “the system organically has begun the transition to … anti-elite purges.”
No one should be surprised, he suggests; but everyone should be very much afraid.
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