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Friday, April 13, 2018

As “people’s power” to make power for people

Coming in 2017 in our country constantly — and understandably — trying to compare with 1917, a year during which the history of Russia has twice shifted dramatically. Comparing this to the more surprising that, according to consensus opinion, there is nothing extraordinary in the near future is expected: the economy has finally bottomed out, and the population is not expressing apparent dissatisfaction with this; the international situation is favorable; the price of oil significantly increased, easing pressure on the ruble and the budget. However on this background of calm elements of alarmism has become increasingly common.

The reason seems pretty clear. For a long time Russia was — and remains — a country where the authorities and population (the first — with a specific intent, and the latter unwittingly) is primarily concerned with the universal global problems and strategies and not just current problems and needs. “Public” we have considered more important than personal and private, even from the ancient time; later, at precisely that emphasized raped the country by the Bolsheviks; now the main value is called patriotism — which also means: the state over the citizens. Sacrifice for the good of society was revered in Russia always — and this is why power is so easy to mobilize people by talking about the “Russian world”; to urge him to resist the “decadent West” to fork over an unprecedented military spending and so on. Although everything seems to be relatively calm about the possibility of war anywhere in the world is saying today as active as in Russia (and especially do not think it is something generally normal, if not positive). For the government, I repeat, everything is a tool “switching attention” of the people; and the people — an element of complacency: we may be malnourished, but what we have a country! As her fear (and therefore respect) in the world!

The Russian political elite purposefully inspires people that the most important value is “the priority of the spiritual over the material”, and “preservation and enhancement of the traditional [i.e. such as the time. — V. I.] Russian spiritual and moral values is a strategic goal of national security” (national security Strategy of the Russian Federation, article 78 and 76). If we translate this nonsense into modern Russian language, it appears that the citizens of Russia is prescribed not to care about his material well-being, and to surrender only to strengthen his own spirit and thoughts about the greatness of the Motherland. Some statistical observations point to the fact that the strategy is a success: social scientists are surprised to ascertain the addiction of the Russians to the crisis, when almost half of the population saves on the Essentials, disposable income has declined from maximum levels by nearly 1/6, and the people and did not think to complain — on the contrary, most of it calls the current situation “normal”. Accordingly, less noticeable in Russia entrepreneurial activity; continues to reduce the number of small and medium enterprises; more and more young people aspire to become officials or employees of state-owned companies; more and more legislation in the name of abstract “States” and not specific people.

However, such a policy in the historical perspective doomed. It is possible — as did many authoritarian regimes — to support the people of the Messianic idea for one or two decades, but to dismiss their problems permanently impossible. A strong state cannot exist without a healthy, built from the bottom of society — because it must serve the people, not to subjugate it. And it is people, not “people” that exists except in the imagination of leaders of different kind Volksparteien. Namely, the people of the Russian policy at all times treated with ill-concealed contempt — and then “democratic” 1990s, as two drops of water similar to the “authoritarian” 2000, and all of them — on the history of the greater part of the twentieth, and of the preceding centuries.

It is in changing the attitude of the elites to what can be called a “culture of everyday life”, it would be worthwhile to see the key to economic, social and any other recovery of the country. We need not erect monuments have long lamented the Kiev princes, and not give away the property of religious organizations and allow people to have more rights in the spheres that directly affect their daily lives. While the country lives off oil and gas exports, why not to reduce (and even cancel) the taxes on those activities that support the whole of the territory (e.g., agriculture)? Why not bring laws on freedom of trade, instead of first demolishing the kiosks, and then pay unemployment benefits? Why do I need to give somewhere in the far East, a hectare of land, when Russia is not processed millions of hectares and more adapted for life in areas that people could take if willing them to productive use? And you can put tens and hundreds and each of them the government does not want to give precise and clear answers, as usual redirecting the attention of citizens on a “global” problem, a great strategy and a confrontation of the spiritual and the mundane.

In my opinion, a tool of radical changes in reality could be two fundamental transformations.

First, it is tax reform on the American model. Is hidden in the price of goods is very corrupt and VAT sales tax, different in each region and reflecting the greed of local authorities, and that portion of the cost of goods, which assigns de facto government. Instead of huge social transfers — at least twice smaller and open budget health care and pension funds. Instead of the pre-withheld from wages (and pensions!) every citizen income tax — full payment with subsequent quarterly or annual payments, which are calculated in the tax return. We should not assume people are assholes, not able to make payments to government: let us give the chance to them to service their tax obligations — and very soon the majority will think, not too expensive, they cost all of “Grand strategy” and “traditional values.” And from these thoughts to a normal modern state is much closer than official receptions in the Kremlin, or idle sessions in the State Duma.

Secondly, no need to talk about democracy, installing draconian rules about passing barriers, millions of signatures and falsifying the election results. You need to allow direct democracy at the most grassroots level and strongly encouraged. Today in Russia there is almost everything to do, for example, local referendums routine. About 70 million people have the INN, nearly 15 million registered on a single portal of public services. Why not make this portal a tool for regional referendums on the most pressing issues? There will be no fraud or stolen votes or other election-related problems. And the popularity of public resources will increase extraordinarily. Look, all organized by zealous bureaucrats “open” public discussion of urban development plans, local taxes and many other things will become really popular. This would have a radical impact not only on local government but also on the organization of society as a whole, and hence for the future of our common country.

A hundred years ago in Russia swept the two revolutionary storm, one worse than the other. They both happened from the fact that the authorities did not take the demands of the people, turned away from them, believed that all problems can be solved in a narrow circle of “eligible” and “chosen”. Special dramatic events of a century ago has given that society has been driven to despair by war, poverty and lack of prospects. Today the situation in Russia will not be called hopeless — and this means that reform now is the time. Because in other conditions happen not reform, but revolution…


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