Is Putin the New Stalin?
Under Putin, if you don’t comply in your role as a leader of a giant Russian corporation, your assets will be seized.
To start off with the latest developments, a Russian blogger has been jailed in Russia for sharing a meme referencing a religious leader of the Russian Orthodox Church. More is to come for the blogger as they await their day in Russian courts. The meme itself did not have any connotations of violence nor did it have any harmful impact – but this is a prelude of what is to come.
Now, let’s remember the 1917 Revolution in Russia where assets were seized and brought to the collectivist model in the name of all the Soviet People and the future control of everything by the Politburo. At that time the fields and farm animals were seized under the guise of “everyone benefits.” However, fast forward to Putin’s rule and the commercial entities are experiencing again a large number of government seizures. The only difference now is that the funds and assets seized end up offshore in the bank accounts of the select few Russian elites and inner circle of Putin’s oligarchs.
The purpose of the current repression is to insight irrational fear within its citizens, the laws do not scare people as much as vigilante-style seizures under a legal umbrella. Everyone knows that since the inception of the Soviet Union to now, the laws have favored the Soviet Politburo or now the law is for Putin the Czar. Civilian repressions are always politically motivated and victims are always unsuspecting of what he can or can’t do to avoid such a fate. Whilst, repercussions are issued simply because someone wants to steal another’s assets.
Stalin’s system of terror was to scare political nomenclature off democratization, by presenting the draft in the mid-1930s with the democratic constitution. It was only meant to instill fear into the Politburo elites through the possible loss of their status and the possibility of holding elections. It also threatened the possible loss of their financial gains, or worse, sent to them to Siberia as someone who was a traitor to the communist party. Within a short period, the understanding was to heel in front of Stalin and to appease the leader for their share of the collectivist elite pie.
Putin’s system of terror involves if you don’t comply in your role as a leader of a giant Russian corporation, the assets will be seized. You will no longer hold elite status and instead of being an oligarch you will be a convicted felon, or even worse, you will be a traitor owned by western agencies and suddenly charged with spreading extremism within Russia. Bloggers with anti-Putin views suddenly get arrested for resisting arrest outside subway stations. Individuals attending anti-Putin events are ending up with permanent physical injuries without recollection of how they were sustained while their families suddenly flock to police stations to report inappropriate activities by their family member. Social media control has become a major means of population control and a major propaganda machine instilling fear into Russian citizens. The Russian government is saying we know who you are, we know every post you make, there is no anonymity. Of course, if you are pro Putin propagandist your social status and audience reach increases due to the removal of limits.
In Stalin’s epoch, repression was used to punish relatives on a grand scale and could give someone the special status of being a relative to a traitor, resulting in a lifetime of restrictions even though the relative had no direct access to the accused. Such traitors were sent to Siberia and wives were sent to “special” concentration camps. Under Putin there are no concentration camps for the wives of the accused as of yet, but today if an accused traitor used the family’s IP address, the family could be found guilty and the wife could end up indicted as well. Children, depending on age, could end up in orphanages or, if teenagers, end up in the center of juvenile delinquents and effectively ending their career. In civilized societies, juvenile records are usually sealed, but in Russia, the charges effectively stay with you a lifetime even if deemed innocent.
During the hopeful period after the Soviet Union collapse and the era of Perestroika, slogans and open hatred of Stalinism were displayed. Now 20 plus years later, a new doctrine based on Stalinism has been resurrected in Russia under Putin.
Under Stalin, the motivation to work was based on premiums and the communist party manifesto, which created collectivist views and gave an allowance for food and shelter needs. If you were a member of the Politburo elite, you also got western products, premium apartments, vacations, and possibly even travel outside the iron curtain.
In Putin’s Russia, the incentives are funds transferred offshore to maintain the status of an oligarch. If anyone outside the circle dared to build a successful business, it would be seized and the individual jailed. Or if someone outside the circle dared to run or express interest in opposition party leadership, it would be quickly determined that you are a criminal. You would be charged, convicted, and have your assets seized. You would become a convicted felon with zero chances of running for public office or traveling outside of Russia to even raise awareness for your plight. Your supporters would be subjected to tyrannical anti-anonymity laws and found to be spreading extremist views of the Russian Federation.