The Troubles of Russia and the Fears of Liberals

Yuri Mishutkin (Rabkor) 25 April 2022

Liberals are already squealing about the return of Stalinism. Allegedly, Russians have a cultural predisposition to dictatorship. But in fact, we have the consequences of the authoritarian liberalization of Soviet Russia. This liberals do not want to admit that they paved the road to hell for Russians with good intentions.

Where is the independent and strong judiciary?
In the 90s, the liberals did not need a strong and independent judiciary, because in this case they would not be able to implement reforms. Soviet citizens would have showered with lawsuits. Therefore, a radical liberal reform was carried out without the judiciary. Subsequently, this became a decisive factor in the establishment of an authoritarian regime.

Why didn't real federalization take place?
The liberals retained the administrative division of Soviet Russia. Small regions are easier to control. Moreover, they will not be able to oppose liberal reforms on the ground. Politically, Russian regions are large municipalities, not small states within a federation.

Where is the local parliamentarism?
The liberals needed a vertical of power to implement the reform. Therefore, power was transferred from people's deputies, who are difficult to control, to governors and mayors, whom the President controls through the appointed Prosecutor General. It is not so much important in whose hands the federal power, the parliament or the president is, but the presence of parliamentarism at the local level.

Where is the economic freedom for the workers?
The liberals blamed the failures of the market reforms on the workers, who were defending their rights in an organized manner. Therefore, they destroyed the trade union organizations, crushed them in order to weaken them. And then they completely adopted labor legislation, where workers were infringed on their rights and full freedom was given to business over workers. Hence the atomization of society, which they themselves complain about. There is no civil society, because there are no tools for the collective defense of citizens of their social rights.

Where is the territorial management of the economy?
The liberals did not have the support of the people and the only way for implementation was from above, through the ministries. Thus, they retained the Stalinist model, when the economy was managed according to sectoral principles, and not according to territorial ones. And the market is still a territorial model of the economy. Thus, political levers of influence on the economy were preserved.

Where is independent statistical accounting?
For liberals, accounting was a relic of a planned economy, and in a market, price says more than statistics. As a result, without the development of elementary statistics, it is impossible to govern the country, to understand what is really happening. The calculation methodology began to be adapted to political needs, in order to create the illusion of well-being. In addition, corruption flourished because of this.

What has neoliberal legislation given us?
Russia lives according to neoliberal laws, which were written by liberals in the 2000s and signed by Putin. In addition, without trade unions, business has become an easy target for corporate raids. This led to social destabilization, most people lost confidence in the future, dependence on the West increased fears, and a strong social stratification of society arose. All this could not but result in reactionary support for an aggressive foreign policy.

What does "de-ideologization of society" mean?
Liberals covered economic reforms with political freedoms. Economic reforms failed and this caused a rejection of political freedoms among a part of the population. And instead of de-ideologization, they tried to replace the communist ideology with a liberal one, which was not popular and did not meet the interests of the majority. Which led to mass apathy.

Why did the democratization of society not take place?
Liberals have never had a majority among the people. But instead of recognizing their political weakness, they preferred to discredit the elections. Nothing has strengthened Putin's position more than shouting about the theft of votes. The fewer protest-minded people voted, the easier Putin won. You don't have to be strong to hold power in a country where political opponents are even weaker. Elections in the country degrade if the political parties are weak. And the power in the country is changing, not because there are democratic elections, but because there is a struggle for power, which leads to a change of power by democratic elections.

Where is freedom of speech?
In freedom of speech, the liberals saw a political tool, the fourth power, an opportunity to discredit the communists. It was freedom for some, strengthened at the expense of lack of freedom for others. The country did not have freedom of speech, a media space that would inform about the objective side of politics, about how political decisions affect the lives of ordinary people. Everything came down to the usual propaganda of political ideologies.

Where is parliamentarianism?
For the same reasons, during the period of liberal reforms, no one, not even the most radical champions of the "European way", promoted the idea of ​​a transition to a parliamentary republic. In a parliamentary republic, deputies express territorial interests. That is, the budget policy is aimed at integrated territorial development. In such a republic, there is a close relationship between the parliament and the governors.

So, in Russia, the regions are very large municipalities, not small countries. The governor behaves like the mayor of a large city, not the president of a small state. When a region has a low weight in the country, both in terms of territory and population, it will not form a local investment policy that would form the basis of the state budget. In such regions, there are few tax residents to be independent.

The reason for the emergence of dwarf regions in the control function over the Soviet ministries, which formed the investment policy. In the Soviet Union, it was not the territories that were comprehensively developed, but the branches of production. And for the development of industries, a scale of production is needed. Hence the manic belief in gigantic projects, because of which the economy was slowed down. The larger the project, the slower the invested capital pays off, therefore, the lower the GDP growth rate.

But since the ministers are fighting for large national projects, it is to their advantage that the decision depends on one person, that is, the president, than on many deputies. Hence the appointment of ministers by the President, and not by the Parliament.

The confrontation between the President and Parliament is expressed in competition between ministers and governors. And since governors are obviously weaker in Russia, hence the centralization of presidential power, where the president buys the loyalty of local officials by weak control over local budget expenditures. Loyalty is directly proportional to corruption. That is, corruption is not a problem, but the meaning of the vertical of power.

Yes, Russia is unlucky. But no luck with the liberals, who stubbornly refuse to understand what objective conditions must arise in order for democracy to exist in our country.


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