No large company in the world has been so spectacularly mismanaged as Russia’s state-dominated natural-gas corporation Gazprom OAO. (GAZP) In the last decade, its management has made every conceivable mistake.Sponsored Ads
Even so, Russian President Vladimir Putin denies the very existence of a crisis and maintains his support for Alexei Miller, the chief executive officer since 2001. Gazprom’s situation is serious not only because it is Russia’s biggest company by market value, but because Putin is its real chairman. Where Gazprom goes, so does Russia and the Putin government.
The potential for revolution is spreading around the world due to the financial crisis and the ability to transmit social information over the internet. There is talk of revolution in the US, Europe, Russia, China and other countries. That doesn’t mean it will happen this year, but who knows what will happen in the next 5 to 10 years. We have entered the age of upheaval.
“The international system—as constructed following the Second World War—will be almost unrecognizable by 2025 owing to the rise of emerging powers, a globalizing economy, an historic transfer of relative wealth and economic power from West to East, and the growing influence of nonstate actors”
From Arab Spring to global revolution | Paul Mason | World news | The Guardian
Two years on from the fall of Hosni Mubarak, the new Egyptian president is from the Muslim Brotherhood; on the streets of Cairo, the same kind of people who died in droves in 2011 are still getting killed. On the streets of Athens, the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn is staging anti-migrant pogroms. In Russia, Pussy Riot are in jail and the leaders of the democracy movement facing criminal indictments. The war in Syria is killing 200 people a day. It’s an easy step from all this to the conclusion that 2011, the year it all kicked off, was a flash in the pan. But wrong. Something real and important was unleashed in 2011, and it has not yet gone away. I am confident enough now to call it a revolution. Some of its processes conform to the templates laid down in the revolutionary wave that swept Europe in 1848, but many do not: above all, the relationship between the physical and the mental, the political and the cultural, seem inverted.
German Finance Minister Schaeuble Warns of Revolution | StratRisks
Continue reading From Arab Spring to Global Revolution: Entering the age of upheaval
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.”
Could Russia being edging closer to a revolution? Clearly, Russia is becoming less stable, not more stable.
The answer is not hard to find. In all likelihood, these leaders sense, either instinctively or intellectually, an impending crisis that could imperil the CCP’s survival in the same way that the French Revolution ended Bourbon rule.
Telltale signs of anxiety are already visible. Capital flight from China is now at a record high. Polls of China’s dollar millionaires reveal that half of them want to emigrate. Amid intensifying calls for democracy, China’s leader-in-waiting, Xi Jinping, reportedly met with the son of the late Hu Yaobang, a political reformer and icon of Chinese liberals. While one should not read too much into such a visit, it is safe to say that China’s next leader knows that the Celestial Kingdom is becoming unsettled.
The idea that some sort of political crisis could engulf China in the coming years may strike many — particularly western business and political elites, who have taken the CCP’s strength and durability for granted — as absurd. In their minds, the party’s hold on power seems indestructible. But several emerging trends, unobserved or noted only in isolation, have greatly altered the balance of power between the CCP and Chinese society, with the former losing credibility and control and the latter gaining strength and confidence.
“When the next generation of Chinese leaders takes over this year, they will have to deal with problems from land to environmental protests,” reports suggest. But they are more likely to resort to xenophobic populism than genuine reform, says a Wukan villager:
The irate villager says China’s new leaders will have to deal with widespread disaffection or find “a way to shift attention by fighting a war in the South China Sea” to focus the anger of the Chinese people elsewhere.
Nevertheless, some Chinese analysts suggest, the Bo Xilai scandal has exposed the inherent fragility of an authoritarian system resting on brittle, performance-based legitimacy .
Another suggestion that revolution is in the air.
Protesters shouted slogans like, “Russia without Putin” and waved signs saying things like, “Putin is a parasite,” according to Reuters.
Russia Today said activists also held signs reading, “Rights aren’t given, they are taken,” “‘Russia is a secular country, no to religious obscurantism” and “Anarchy: Dreams come true.”
The group intends to march near the Kremlin in what is anticipated to be one of the largest opposition protests in recent months, said Reuters.
The Kremlin has dismissed the event, saying it does not represent national sentiment.
The CCP’s mantra “stability above everything else” is a reflection of its instability.
Judging from the current political, social, and economic difficulties, China is on the eve of great political change.
Not only will the Bo Xilai/Wang Lijun “Chongqing incident” have a difficult aftermath, the power distribution battle around the 18th Party Congress has turned white-hot. There are rumors of an assassination attempt on Xi Jinping, the presumed next Party head. In addition there are territorial disputes, intensifying social conflicts, and serious confrontations and distrust between the people and the authorities.
Some worry that if the CCP were to collapse it would lead to large-scale unrest. But in view of China’s current situation, I believe that will not occur. There are three main reasons:
One, China’s instability originates from the CCP’s own internal problems and manifests as the CCP’s internal struggles, rather than coming from outside factors.
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.
And Putin’s return to the Stalinist practice of sending police to search opponents’ homes, combined with his attempts to ignite hostility between social groups – for example, between provincial Russia and the urban middle class – is deepening antagonism and distrust among citizens. In this way, Putin’s regime intensifies political dissenters’ longing for retaliation – thereby hindering peaceful change.
Already, longstanding tensions have begun to boil over; tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets since Putin’s 2011 announcement that he would reclaim the presidency. His return to the Kremlin has incited some of the largest protests that Moscow has seen since the 1990’s. And, while popular demonstrations have diminished – largely as a result of draconian new anti-protest laws – the more conflict accumulates beneath the surface, the more devastating the eventual explosion will be.
By censoring the media, discrediting moderate opposition, and provoking popular discontent, Putin is playing with fire. It is impossible to predict when Russia will detonate, but the system’s fissures are undeniable – and growing.
Pressure is building in Russia toward revolution. The timing is impossible to know, but the direction is clear. Putin is in trouble.
The widening gap between the rich and poor in China is turning ever more numbers of ordinary citizens into social activists. If the government wants to maintain stability, it must address the root causes of growing protests — not just suppress them
And yet the country boils with discontent. Last year China averaged 500 large-scale protests per day, economist Niu Wenyuan, an adviser to China’s State Council, told an official forum in February. The death of an anticorruption investigator in police custody last June touched off riots in central Hubei province that had to be put down by military police in armored cars. In August, 12,000 mostly middle-class residents of the northeastern port city of Dalian took to the streets to call for the closure of a huge new petrochemical factory. And in December thousands of residents in the coastal village of Wukan, angered by corrupt sales of communal land, kicked out their local government, prompting a tense standoff with police. “We had made appeals to 14 different, higher government departments since 2009 but we never got an answer,” says Zhang Jianxing, a 27-year-old villager who posted photos and footage of the protests online. “So we were forced to take action ourselves. When we started the whole thing, we knew we had to succeed. We weren’t going to give up.” The Wukan demonstrations forced the Guangdong provincial authorities to order an investigation and a new village election.
Is China becoming susceptible to a revolution?