But six weeks into this one, its initiator has found himself in the bind of his career. By allowing state TV to cover all the gory details of the bureaucratic bloodletting, Putin’s government seems to have only reminded Russians just how shameless and pervasive corruption has become. In one case, police claim to have found an obscure military bureaucrat, Alexander Yelkin, in possession of around $9 million in cash and four Breguet watches. Had he not been arrested on Nov. 16, he was reportedly planning to celebrate his birthday the following night with a private concert by Jennifer Lopez. Judging by the latest polls, such tales of profligacy have begun to reflect badly on the entire government — Putin included. But satisfying the public’s piqued desire for justice is hardly an option at this point. Bureaucrats at every level are already spooked by the spate of arrests, and if the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed becomes threatened, they could start to turn on Putin. And that raises the risk of a palace coup.
“He has to strike a very delicate balance,” says Alexander Rahr, a member of the Valdai Club, a forum of Russia experts that meets with Putin once a year. “He is too dependent on the boyars [feudal lords] to go chopping off their heads, but that is what the people are now demanding.”
Off with Their Heads – By Simon Shuster | Foreign Policy
Could Russia being edging closer to a revolution? Clearly, Russia is becoming less stable, not more stable.
As the level of discontent rises in Russia, Moscow finds itself significantly short of well-trained riot police. The military and other police suffer from “low moral sensibility and dubious riot training.” In short, Moscow is in trouble and so is Russia.
Putin and his cohorts in the Duma seem to see themselves as being besieged by enemies from all directions: in Syria, Central Asia and the Caucasus, while paid foreign agents try to occupy the streets and squares of Moscow. Putin brushed aside criticism of the NGO foreign agents legislation by publicly reiterating his long-held opinion that those who take foreign money dance to a foreign tune. Leading opposition figures have been harassed recently, their homes have been searched, and the number of jailed dissidents has been growing. The stage seems to be set for a showdown.
Putin will not meet the unrest with adequate reforms, while the repressive alternative is lacking in strength or credibility. As soon as the moral and physical fortitude of the overstretched OMON begins to crumble, control of Moscow may be lost. Since Russia is overcentralized, the loss of Moscow inevitably means the loss of the entire country. In Russia, just like in France, revolutions are decided in the capital only, while the provinces gaze on in bewilderment.
Putin vs. the People | Opinion | The Moscow Times
While the legislation has been met with outrage, no one, so far, seems particularly cowed (despite a wave of prose-cutions related to the May 6 unrest). Instead, the government is seen as running scared. On a Moscow radio program, political consultant and former Putin adviser Gleb Pavlovsky described the new law as a “hysterical fit” proving that “the government has lost the ability to govern.”
At the Washington conference, Kara-Murza noted that “9 or 10 years ago the Putin regime could do anything it pleased?—?shut down TV stations, shut down opposition parties, rig elections?—?and expect apathy and silence. That time has passed; everything they do now, they have to do looking over their shoulder.” Current events seem to bear this out.
The People Versus Vladimir Putin | The Weekly Standard
Russia is at risk of a revolution. Putin can’t know the future, but he must be getting nervous about what might come.
If the world is at a tipping point, Russia is at risk of revolution, and China too, should all of us be worried about the future? The entire world order we know is at risk of collapse.
Vladimir Putin’s new presidential term is just beginning, but it increasingly looks like the beginning of the end. Whenever Russia’s people pour into the streets en masse, as they currently are doing, from that point on things never work out well for the authorities.
In 1917, Russian Emperor Nicholas II had to abdicate in the wake of mass street protests, clearing the way for the Bolshevik Revolution. In 1991, the Soviet Union – then seemingly an unbreakable monolith – collapsed in just a few months. Hundreds of thousands went into the streets to confront the hardline coup against Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika.
Now it is Putin’s turn. …
“Putin’s Final Act” by Nina L. Khrushcheva | Project Syndicate
The global financial crisis of 2008 has caused us to enter the age of upheaval. Big changes are coming. These changes may include revolution in both Russia and China.These signs and the global financial crisis indicate that the world has entered a pre-collapse state. Small events are now capable of causing massive changes to the world we know.
The Global Trends 2025 reports says we should expect discontinuities, shocks and surprises before 2025. The international system we know today “will be almost unrecognizable by 2025″. The transition to a new system will be fraught with risks, the report says.