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.
Stalin was a Communist and had more of an iron grasp on the Soviet Union than Putin currently does with Russia. Putin wishes he could have the control Stalin did. Putin is also a right-winger.
So while they both have an authoritarian-leaning, they do not get there through the same method of thinking, nor has Putin quite reached the genocide Stalin placed on citizens of the Soviet Union.
I appreciate your commentary. I think Putin is former communist and even though you are right at this time he is more of a populist. He is still trying to turn Russia into totalitarian regime. I do agree with you about genocide part.
An obvious and completely ignored truth about Russia, Putin, and the Crimea:
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the appropriation and export of Russian natural-resources wealth proceeded apace, orchestrated by a conspiracy of banks in Israel, the USA, and the UK, with full knowledge of and 100% political support from the respective governments. Most of the billions were siphoned off to accounts in Israel, the rest to accounts in the UK and U.S. So went the “virtue” of Western-installed “privitizatrion” in the new Russian Federation. Very, very profitable indeed!
Concurrently, NATO, instead of honoring a post-Cold War mutual cessation of aggressiveness, fervently recruited in that military alliance — using economic pressure and financial bribes by the leading NATO members — eastern European countries bordering Russia. Ukraine was the final recruiting prize that NATO was after. At that time, the historically, ethnically, and politically Russian Crimea was technically part of the Ukrainian state. And the Crimea had always been, and still remains, strategically vital to Russia, since it is the site of Russia’s sole warm-water port, used both by Russian commercial and naval vessels. It would have been strategic suicide for Russia to allow the Crimea to fall under NATO control. No country on earth would have allowed anything comparable to happen! The annexation of Crimea was predictable and inevitable in light of the unrelenting post-Cold War NATO aggressiveness.