Mankind's only alternative 7   DEC.   22  
Mankind's only alternative

The Fall of The eXile For all those wondering what the "Save The eXile Fundrasier" banner is all about, here it is as simply as it can be phrased: The eXile is shutting down.
June 11, 2008 in eXile Blog

War Nerd: War of the Babies in Taki's Magazine The War Nerd talks about babies, the greatest weapon of the 20th century.
May 28, 2008 in eXile Blog

Kids, Meet Your President A website for Russian kids to learn all about President Medvedev's passion for school, sports and family.
May 22, 2008 in eXile Blog

Cellphone Democracy Cam If this girl was exposed to Jeffersonian democracy...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Dyev Photos Yet another hot Russian babe imitating the Catpower look...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

Proof That Genetic Memory Is Real! Sure, the Ottomans shut down the Istanbul Slavic slave markets centuries ago...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Russia's Orthodox Church Youth Outreach Program The priest is going, "Father Sansei is very impressed with grasshopper Sasha’s...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Club Photos w/Russian Dyevs We took the Pepsi Challenge here...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Blogs RSS feed

Russia February 11, 2008
The Myth of the Democratic Model
By Sean Guillory Browse author Email
Page 3 of 4

Who is this elite? They're politically conservative, distrustful of democracy, and patriotic. They are businessmen of medium and large companies, military officers, members of the police and security organs, and perhaps most importantly the 1.5 million strong members of the state bureaucracy. Like any good capitalist class, the Russian elite knows that capitalism without a state, moreover a state that doesn't possess a monopoly on violence or can peacefully adjudicate elite disputes is one that inevitably descends into civil war. No one wins in that scenario. The "grand bargain" that McFaul refers to in his Slate piece is a bargain indeed. It's just not between Putin and the population as a whole (though many in the population think it is). It is first and foremost a class bargain between and within the Russian elite.

The propensity to point to the social ills that plague Russia as a way to crack Putin is to assume that the Russian elite ever gave two shits about those who inhabit society's lower rungs. They don't. Nor have they ever. At least no more than any elite class does anywhere else. All they understand is the need to declare that "Life has become more joyous, comrades," and give the masses enough scraps off the table of capital to keep them from burning down their mansions. Putin's role in all this is to keep the various elite groups from cutting each other's throats, maintain their corruption within acceptable boundaries, and to act as a postmodern embodiment of intra-class Law. Granted, Putin's grip over society is far from omnipotent. Capitalist-fueled violence still rages. Every once in a while Putin has to play to the masses and crack some uppity member of the elite over the head. But the elite as a class can live with that. As long as Putin doesn't get to uppity himself and threaten the overall stability of the robber baron system, everything's cool as a cucumber.

Two conclusions can be made from all this. First, the foundations of Putin's rule are rooted in the 1990s. It was Yeltsin with his 1993 Constitution that put the President above everything else. It was Yeltsin that emasculated Russia's parliamentary system with troops and tanks. It was Yeltsin that decreed Russia's violent capitalism into existence. Putin just took the tools Uncle Borya left behind and made them work better. He used them to drive off, co-opt, or imprison the overly cannibalistic and political ambitious oligarchy. He used it to tame Russia's political opposition. He used Russia's natural resources and geopolitical positioning to return it to great power status. All of this has benefitted Russia's ultra wealthy.

Don't think so? Here is an interesting statistic. In 2000, Forbes' Billionaires List didn't include a single Russian. In 2007, it listed 50.

McFaul and others like him want to impose a false historical break between the Yeltsin and Putin eras where there isn't one. That break serves them ideologically. It allows "transitologists" to not only maintain the myth of Russian democracy in the 1990s, but also maintain liberal democracy as some sort of natural endpoint that all states must and will go through. This view is part of a much more sinister ideological project. It's the project that says you can smash a state with violence or pick up the pieces after its implosion and recast it in your own neoliberal image.

Second, and this is the dirty little secret that shock-therapy peddlers like McFaul will never admit: post-Soviet Russia proves once again that free-market capitalism thrives in authoritarian regimes. In fact, as Naomi Klein reminds us in her masterful Shock Doctrine, capitalism, and in particular its extreme neoliberal variant, always requires force. That force can come in many forms--the limiting of protest, the use of detention, imprisonment and torture, silencing journalists, biometric surveillance, the unleashing of the military and other security organs on its own or other populations, extremist laws, and the removal of habeas corpus. It is no irony of history that even the most so-called liberal democratic states use many of these mechanisms to strengthen and maintain elite power (see under "Georgia" for the latest example). They are built right into their system of class domination.

SHARE:  Digg  My Web  Facebook  Reddit
Anne Applebaum is Gulag Raider :
Death Porn
Early Winter Death Porn : Early winter tales of murder and mayhem to chill the bones

Top Of The World Clubbin' : Moscow From The Shadows To The 21st Floor
Your Letters :


Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
Club Review By Dmitriy Babooshka
eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
Bardak Calendar By Jared Lindquist
Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
America By Eileen Jones
Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...


    MAIN    |    RUSSIA    |    WAR NERD     |    [SIC!]    |    BAR-DAK    |    THE VAULT    |    ABOUT US    |    RSS

© "the eXile". Tel.: +7 (495) 623-3565, fax: +7 (495) 623-5442