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Putin’s regime will last forever — but even forever has an end – Leonid Gozman’s opinion on the resource depletion of the late Putinism

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from Новая Газета. Европа.

The nightmare that is happening to our country, the nightmare that is happening on our behalf creates a feeling of hopelessness. The regime is ready for any sort of villainy and seems to be unwavering, while the only people it cannot cope with, the Ukrainians, will never launch an offensive to capture Moscow.

Many Russians have returned to the Soviet way of thinking: the system will last forever.

Some also believe that what is happening now isn’t the worst of things. No switch to democracy is expected, as nothing will obviously change through an election; and it might get even worse after Putin, they say.

As if there’s always room for things to get worse. It’s either some complete monsters will take charge — a casting for those is already on — or the ultimate collapse of the state will cause a war of all against all when private armies of regional and federal level will drown the country in blood, so that the civil war we had in the early 20th century would seem like child’s play compared to this one.

It’s obvious, however, that

even though the repercussions of the regime’s collapse are indeed unpredictable, and the most horrible scenarios cannot be ruled out, if it remains for long, our country will lose any chance for a normal future.

Vladimir Putin and his team are gradually destroying Russia. The end of this regime would be a chance, although a small one, to open some opportunities.

I have some good news from this point of view: the system will not last forever and will soon fall. Let us now discuss why rather than how this is going to happen.

Putin’s regime may be compared to a very old man who cannot live any longer and will soon die of one disease or another, even if he appears to be pretty fine.

The thing isn’t that the system is atrocious and immoral: the world has seen things far worse. The system is abysmally inefficient.

It had virtually no success in recent years. The few completed projects, such as the Kerch Strait bridge, remain unnoticed against the background of countless times when virtually anything that was promised to be completed on time was eventually rescheduled and postponed.

The above is relevant both for technical projects such as freeways (which, by the way, have not been considered a proper reason to be proud of one’s nation anywhere in the world for quite some time now) and the declared priorities of social policy: salaries, housing per capita, healthcare etc.

Basically, the authorities prefer not to mention the 25 million technologically advanced jobs, import substitution and various breakthroughs in technology.

Back in the day, people used to compare Putin to Augusto Pinochet, now he’s most commonly compared to Adolf Hitler. What’s important is, though, that not only Pinochet had certain achievements, which is well-known, but even Hitler did, too. Obviously, the burden of grave crimes and a military defeat overshadowed this, but he had something to present to his people in the early years of his rule. Putin has nothing to present.

The true shape of the Russian state has become evident after the invasion of Ukraine: “the war is an honest man”. It turned out that the army does not know how to fight a war. That out of all military skills the generals bedecked with medals only possess the skill of commander’s voice.

That the state-of-the art armaments, such as the much-touted Armata tank, only existed as expenditures used to create wealth for certain officials who seem to have no issues with housing and retirement savings.

No weapons appear on the frontlines: it turns out the cutting-edge tanks and missiles are but cartoon characters.

The controllability is falling (or has degraded completely?). The mobilisation was carried out so poorly that the harm it caused exceeded the potential benefits manyfold, and the authorities were forced to announce its end, trying to go on secretly, grabbing literally anyone they could but without causing too much noise.

This is relevant for civilian life, too, if we still have it. Schools have started to ignore the mandatory flag raising and anthem listening ceremonies more and more often: the people are no longer paying attention to imbecile imperatives.

Several years of consistent obliteration of Russia’s education and the recent external migration have drastically reduced the quality of the country’s human capital assets.

The highly qualified working people are now increasing the GDP of Armenia, Kazakhstan, or any other country that offered them harbour — but not Russia. They cannot be substituted as people who come to Russia mainly offer a lower level of qualification. And their number is shrinking as well.

Russia’s demographics are getting worse both in terms of birth and mortality rates despite all the windbaggery about the support of families. Our country is also among the global leaders in suicide and AIDS rates.

The authorities are constantly demonstrating not just their incompetence, but complete lack of understanding of reality. Putin and his team have completely switched to living in an illusionary world by this point.

Vladimir Voinovich’s ingenious prediction that the chief boss would manage the country from space in 2042 were made true twenty years ahead of schedule.

The isolation of the top brass, and especially Putin, from reality, their existence in a shell, their limited communication environment and the complete obliteration of feedback of any kind have resulted in them believing in the wildest myths possible about how the world functions. It is inevitable that they will start believing at some point that the Earth is flat and rests upon three whales.

The regime feels that it is losing support from the progressive, forward-thinking electorate, so it has been focusing on the archaism tactic in the past years, declaring that ignorance is strength, the made-up past is the future, and autocracy is the effluence of the folk’s spirit.

A political rapprochement with Iran’s theocracy is not just a pragmatic necessity to buy weapons, but also an expression of spiritual affinity. Perhaps the worst thing is that all the idle talk about traditional values, protection of spirituality and all this fight against LGBT isn’t just aimed at confusing people.

The supreme authorities do actually believe in all of this, same as the elderly Politburo members believed that Afghanistan needed “aid” because there was a “Marxist party” there. Moreover, the education that our president and his associates received from various KGB higher schools and their experience in intelligence agencies create this picture of the world precisely.

However, even an inefficient system may last pretty long. This requires one condition, though: it must somehow get the resources that would compensate for its inability to solve the country’s problems and the contrary-to-reason nature of the world it had created.

A house can only be heated when it’s cold, and cooled when it’s hot, if you have energy to do it: electricity, for instance, or something that would generate it. The artificial, irrational Soviet communism was kept afloat by free labour at first and then, during its vegetarian period, by oil.

When both human resources and oil money ran out, communism ended, too, and it looks like it happened pretty naturally.

Putin’s state is doomed because it does not generate new resources to support its existence, and the old ones are running low.

Technological progress, which makes people more independent from oil and gas, has long been an enemy of the system, and now the world has also realised that it needs to free itself from depending on Russia’s energy and deprive the country of most of its oil income: Russia will no longer have as much oil revenue as it requires.

The technological handicap, which means both weapons and quality of life, will only get worse as time goes on. Russians have numerous reasons for discontent: from the aggressive general policy to poor military apparel and equipment, and this discontent will only grow.

Unlike August 1991, nobody is going to risk their lives to protect the regime should an internal cataclysm happen: the security agencies are not motivated by some kind of an idea they are devoted to but rather by wealth; they are extremely sceptical about the entire top-down command structure and personally about Vladimir Putin.

The war, and the inevitable defeat as the ultimate expression of the regime’s inadequacy and incompetence is another reason. It does not have a place to get money, manpower, or allies from.

Therefore, it has no future. We do not know how it is going to end: there are many options. But it is certainly going to end, and this will happen in the foreseeable future. Do not be desperate and be ready.

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Это будет навсегда, пока не кончится

Леонид Гозман об исчерпанности ресурсов позднейшего путинизма

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