NEW AGENDA: NON-UNITED RUSSIA

Author: Vladislav Inozemtsev

NEW AGENDA: NON-UNITED RUSSIA. (By Vladislav Inozemtsev, director of the Center for Postindustrial Studies. Vedomosti, Sept. 10, 2013, p. 6. Complete text:) As it did throughout the 2000s, the Russian political elite continues to base its success on the exploitation of phobias: "exercises" to wipe out external threats; the search for internal enemies; efforts to boost the nation's morale; the defense of traditional values. And the bigger the campaign, the more actively this kind of rhetoric tends to be used. The vitally important "positive" cause for which citizens are (and will continue to be) called upon to sacrifice their freedoms and beliefs, leaving power in the hands of a permanent cohort of the "ruling class," is stated clearly and openly in the name of the ruling party: United Russia. The unity of the country is what justifies closing it off from the outside world, setting up a vertical chain of command and redistributing financial flows from the regions to the center. No matter what mistakes the government makes, Putin's political elite have been granted special dispensation: After all, they "kept the country from falling apart" at the turn of the 21st century. And the opposition, no matter how radical it might seem in its own eyes, always caves in to that argument. If the opponents of the current regime are ready and willing to dismantle it, they need to desacralize the slogan that has become the name and trademark of today's ruling party.

Our country's opposition has largely emerged as the alter ego of the authorities; like them, it believes in elite-driven projects, "top-down change" and the power of the [federal] center. Even the main slogan of [the Moscow mayoral campaign of oppositionist Aleksei] Navalny was: "Change Russia! Start with Moscow!" But Russia has already been through changes that started in the capital - first in 1917, then in 1989-1991 - and each time, such changes led to ...

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