Saturday, 03 May 2008 20:00 Sergey Skvortsov

Results Of Putin's Ruling

Only few days remain up to an inauguration of the new President of Russia. No matter what some outstanding "experts" on Russia say, Putin's era comes to an end. Apparently now it is time to review some results of his ruling.

The bourgeois press now represents Putin as a certain enemy of the West which has suppressed the Russian democracy. The Western journalists, however, agree that Putin secured to Russia a rapid economic growth and sharply lifted a standard of life of Russians. One of serious newspapers even has written that «Russians have never lived so well».

A part of anti-imperialist foreign public and even a part of foreign communists trusts in such things, they consider Putin someone like Russian Chaves. He struggles against the American imperialism, they speak, and in the Russia suppresses the large capital and wins poverty. As if to a cut down democracy, Putin, as it seems to them, thus only struggles against «the fifth column» of imperialism, which doesn’t deserve to regret.

How all looks actually? We’ll start from a foreign policy. Yes, Putin’s rhetoric is actually anti-imperialistic, but real affairs badly proves it. In spite of the fact that the Western propaganda persistently attributes to Putin the aspiration to restore the USSR (that he, by the way, repeatedly denied), for years of his ruling Russia have worsened its relations with absolutely all former Soviet republics which more and more look overseas. The largest damage was done to relations with Belarus with which in due time even the agreement about creation of the Allied State has been signed. Being afraid, that under real unification of Russia with Belarus citizens will choose Alexander Lukashenko the head of the new State, Putin has led this process to a blind alley. Moreover, he undertook openly hostile actions when, breaking the signed agreements, he in several times rised the price for gas delivered to Belarus. It is no wonder, that when in the end of the last year Putin has arrived to Lukashenko with the offer to begin a real unification, but under condition of granting to Putin of a post of the allied president, he received a resolute refusal.

As if to the western vestor of Russian foreign policy, here a concession followed a concession. We can recollect a liquidation of the Russian bases on Cuba (about which Fidel Castro has learned from newspapers) and in Vietnam, accommodation of the American troops in ex-Soviet Central Asia (Putin then persuaded (!) presidents of these republics to let in Americans), the consent to the joining of Baltic republics into NATO, etc. Such list turns out very and very long. Perhaps for the weakening of foreign policy positions of Russia Putin made much more than Yeltsin.

But maybe last years something has changed - especially after well-known «the Munich speech» of Putin? Alas, even if something has really changed that basically in words. Last year Russia supported in the United Nations sanctions against PDRK, ratified the agreement on the order of stay of NATO troops (!) in the Russian territory, etc. This year Putin already sent a letter to the Japanese prime-minister with the offer to renew negotiations about a transfer to Japan of a part of Kuril islands which belong to Russia. At the end of February it was announced that Russia refused to prolongate a lease of 2 radar stations in Ukraine (Ukrianians were ready to prolongate). These stations intended for the warning against a nuclear attack. It is necessary to recollect also a recent proposal to send Russian troops to Afghanistan. If to analyse Putin's widely advertised "struggle" against deployment in the East Europe of American systems of anti-missile defense (AMD), this struggle is more resembling to capitulation. What he has offered Americans? Instead of the East Europe to place their stations in Azerbaijan (former Soviet republic) and in Russia (near Leningrad, on the newest radar station). Maybe for this purpose the already mentioned agreement on the order of stay in our territory of NATO troops was so hastily ratified? Very strange strategy of anti-imperialist struggle: if the enemy wants to go to neighbours, let's admit him to our house! If Americans agree on this Putin's offer, they for the first time in history would place their troops in the Russian territory - and on absolutely legal basis.

So publicly he says one thing and in a lobby absolutely another. It cannot be differently, because the Russian top not only keep their money in Western banks, but in many cases even their families live there. In addition the Russian foreign policy is pursued extremely inconsistently and unsystematically. I shall result{bring} only one only an example. When the conflict in occasion of detention of the Russian officers by the Georgian authorities burst out, Moscow at first answered … with acceleration of a withdrawal of the Russian troops from Georgia, and then has made something absolutely unprecedented. Usually economic sanctions are imposed to gain a fulfillment of some requirements, but the Russian authorities, maybe for the first time in a world practice, proceeded in reverse - they imposed sanctions already after their requirements have been fulfilled! All over the world analysts beat their brains out trying to understand such strange behaviour of the Kremlin, but an explanation was very simple - is was a kind of «a monarchical whim».

What remains actually if to reject loud, but empty phrases? Non-recognition of the so-called “independence” of Kosovo? But exactly under Putin the Russian troops have been withdrawn from Kosovo, and such "independence" also refused to recognize such countries which hardly possible to consider anti-imperialistic - for example, Spain. Deliveries of the nuclear equipment to Iran, the weapons to Venezuela and Syria? Alas, here everything was determined by purely economic reasons, namely personal material interests of a Putin’s team who saddled all these flows of funds. They determine also economic sanctions against Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus. For these people their personal interests are above any interests of Russia. One political scientist neatly noticed that Putin by his character is not a politician but a businessman.

It is necessary to say also some words about the «strengthening of military power of Russia», in which abroad many people believe. I shall quote only several figures which are quite accessible in open, unclassified publications. In eight years of Putin’s ruling the Russian army received twenty seven strategic rockets and 440 were written off. Whether the Russian nuclear potential became stronger or not? In my opinion, the answer is clear. In the same years the Russian army received 90 new tanks (on the average 11 pieces in a year), three (!) new planes and one (!) new complex of antiaircraft defense. And so on, and so forth. It is curious, that under Yeltsin the Russian army received more weapons. But maybe deliveries of arms have increased during the latest time? Alas, no. It’s true that some defense factories work, but all of their manufacture goes for export. If this is a strengthening of the Russian military power, Putin is a real democrat …

Now we touch upon a question of democracy. Before Putin it was possible to say that there is a bourgeois democracy in Russia. Independent of authorities TV channels and radio stations existed, the opposition (even radical) worked more or less freely, authorities, as a rule, did not prevent meetings and demonstrations, etc. Though already then the results of elections were considerably forged, undesirable to authorities people and organizations nevertheless could participate in them and even sometimes to win.

With Putin's arrival all has gradually changed - as from the very beginning our Party forecasted. Independent of authorities TV channels does not exist any more (except for broadcasting through the satellite and on the Internet), the majority of Parties has lost their official registration, demonstrations are practically forbidden, and meetings are under the tight control, etc. Some days ago in Moscow the police has brutally dispersed a meeting (officially authorized by authorities) against police brutality (!). And it is not the first case. Oppositional activists are severely beaten, against them criminal cases are forged, when on them are planted drugs and weapons. Recently even political murders have begun. The roughest reprisal the political police administers just above members of sharply anti-Western National-Bolshevik Party and a left-wing Vanguard of Red Youth (for the information of those who considers as if Putin makes short work with «the fifth column» of the West).

Elections have turned to a real farce. Only officially registered Parties are allowed to participate in them and as I already mentioned, the majority of former Parties have lost their registration. Moreover, as recently it was found out, the financing of all Parties which are officially admitted to elections is carried out … by the Administration of the President of Russia. I emphasize – all Parties, including ostensibly oppositional. Despite of that authorities resort to mass falsifications of the results of elections. Such falsifications assumed especially shocking scales on the last «presidential elections». Even loyal to authorities the "Communist" party of the Russian Federation has declared about the non-recognition of their "results". And it was clear why. Instead of really received 30 percent of votes its leader Mr. Zyuganov officially has “received" only 18, and nominated by Putin his "successor", Mr. Medvedev, instead of real 40-45 % ostensibly received 70%!

In Russia now very many things are forged, including Putin's official rating (which is several times higher than a real one) and rates of economic growth. The matter is that authorities give official figures of inflation which are several times lower than real rates, making impression of a rapid economic growth and increase of a standard of life. Last months when the public became a little bolder, even more often there are statements that actually the prices grow much more quickly than the official statistic data. The academic Institute of Economy considers that instead of official 12 % the prices in the last year really increased by 20 %, the Institute of Problems of Globalization estimates a price rise in 25 %, and an oligarch-oppositionist Alexander Lebedev (as well as the author of these lines) speaks already about 30 % rate of inflation. If by official data the nominal average salary in Russia has increased by 26 % it turns out that contrary to the statements of authorities the real salary actually has not grown but fallen. The same thing concerns to an industrial production.

Nevertheless some economic growth in Russia is really exists, but basically it occurs due to a growth of stock quotes of the Russian enterprises (the next soap bubble is inflated), plus on money of the rich are under construction the apartments which are intended not for habitation but for resale Hundreds of thousands and millions of such flats are already empty. Almost all other branches of economy still lead a miserable life, last year even the oil and gas recovery has decreased. As if to the incomes, for the majority of the population they practically same what were in 2000. From were could come «a victory over poverty», about which an official propaganda talks, if actually the number of poor people has not decreased at all, and on the average the incomes of population are only 40-45 % from the incomes at the end of 80th years! But it’s only on the average. The majority of population in comparison with Soviet time lives 3-4 times worse. Last months the prices have started to grow even more quickly. Even according to official data for the first 3 months of this year they have grown on 5 %, that corresponds to 20 percent a year. First meetings of protest against a rise of prices have already taken place recently…

As if to the "struggle against the big business”, it is sound simply ridiculous if to consider the size of a personal fortune of Putin. In the Russian mass-media you can find estimations of this fortune - from 40 to 70 billion dollars. I emphasize - not millions, but billions. It turns out that Putin is one of the richest people in the world, ten times richer than notorious Khodorkovsky. What, he will struggle with himself?

To all this I could add still much, having written about corruption, which under Putin exceeded all conceivable limits, about police brutality, about the army of officials, which increased in several times, etc., but the size of a newspaper article is none the less limited. Probably in the future I’ll still return to these questions but now it would be desirable to touch the last theme for today – about a "tandem" by Putin and a "president-elect" Medvedev.

For a long time Mr. Putin hesitated, trying to solve a problem of the transfer of authority. Having chosen a post of a prime-minister, he decided in favor of the most disadvantageous decision for himself. Many people including the author of these lines, up to the end did not trust, that he could do it because the negative sides here are visible even by the naked eye.

First of all in Russia the prime minister traditionally bears the responsibility for a social and economic situation in the country. In conditions, when a world economic depression is already begun, anybody who will hold this post, soon will appear in a role of a whipping boy. However, even without such world economic depression the result soon would appear the same. Mr. Putin does not own a real situation in economy (for example, he sincerely trusts that the prices grow by only 10 % a year), and he is not the most brilliant manager. When in the past he tried to put into practice his own ideas, the result appeared catastrophic. For example, we could recollect an administrative reform, which almost for a year paralyzed a work of the ministries and departments, or a notorious "monetization”, i.e. the actual cancelling of the social privileges which have caused a real explosion of discontent. So if Mr. Medvedev will need an occasion for the resignation of a new prime-minister he’ll surely find it. Actually, formally he need not any occasion – according to Constitution it can be made with one stroke of the pen.

However, Putin can stay not too long on a post of a prime-minister, only having looked after behind a transition of powers to Mr. Medvedev - say, up to the end of this year. Such script would be most favourable to him, but for the present it is difficult to tell how events will really develop.

Now some frictions between the future president and the future prime-minister already seem absolutely inevitable. Evidently Mr. Putin had some grounds when decided to make himself secure. Recently he made something earlier unknown in world history, becoming a chairman of the party of power «United Russia», but not becoming its member. However, he hardly could count on a real support of this strange formation, deprived of any ideology and ready to serve any authority. On the other hand, Mr. Medvedev has already appointed a known economist-oppositionist Sergey Glazyev for the post of a head of his “brain center”, and such act means that he at least doubts of a present policy of Putin.

Actually, it’s not surprising. Eight years of Putin’s ruling have not brought Russia to prosperity. There is only a stability - such what happens on a cemetery - but the end already comes even to it.

Sergey Skvortsov, first (general) secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU

Published in April issue of the Finnish newspaper Kansan Aaani (Communist League of Finland).

Communist Party of the Soviet Union
International department
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