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Friday, March 16, 2018

The fall of President Putin’s increased risks

The summer has flown by, but we know: if not the best, then at least the fun ahead. Opening the political season cannot be called a regular, walk-in, routine. This autumn — the last autumn of the third presidential term of Vladimir Putin. And while he never outlined his plans for 2018.

However, whatever the decision in the end neither took the head of the state, and whatever were the upcoming presidential elections, it is clear that the Putin era is entering its final stage.

photo: kremlin.ru

And in the life of Vladimir Putin also is not the spring: October 7, turns 65 years old. It is worth remembering that Boris Yeltsin, when he punished Putin to protect Russia, retired, was only three years older. Mikhail Gorbachev at the time of adding them from itself powers of the President of the USSR was 59 years. That is, if Putin decides to go for another term, by the end of it he will become the oldest leader of the country after Konstantin Chernenko, defunct in the age of 73.

But it is not the age of the head of state. Trump won 71, and his watch on the “gallery” has only just begun, and nothing. No confusing in the new American President, of course, a lot. And many. But the number of years lived in the list of claims is missing.

The problem is in the length of stay in the Olympus of power. Vladimir Putin himself at the time he formulated it so: “Everything is good in moderation. I believe that more than five years a Director must not sit on one place, his work becomes inefficient.”

For the President, however, Putin made an exception with the “special position”. But the head of state, Putin insisted, should not stay longer than two terms of four years. A total of eight. These statements were made in July 1999, a month before the appointment of Vladimir Putin as Prime Minister. Since then, however, the views of Putin on the time limits of power have undergone substantial changes.

The first after Stalin

This evolution is evident on 11 April 2012, during his last report to the state Duma as head of government. MP from the Communist party Vladimir Bortko asked then newly elected President, how would he have reacted to the draft law limiting presidential rule to two terms. That is excluded from the relevant provisions of the Constitution the word “consecutive”. Putin replied that the proposal was “quite reasonable”, but “to a lesser extent, the Law is not retroactive. From the moment when it is accepted, I have the opportunity to work now and next term, there is no problem”.

It must be noted that Vladimir Vladimirovich, perhaps, still excited. If the relevant amendment to the Basic law appeared during its current presidency, the problems with the following period is definitely would. Remember that at the time the constitutional court ruled Yeltsin to go for a third term, despite the fact that the first time he was elected more on the old Soviet Constitution. You sound like therefore the idea seems to be endorsed by Putin, was never implemented.

It was then, at the dawn of the third term, Mr Putin, for the first time publicly acknowledged the possibility of his fourth presidential start. And the less time left before the elections, the less likely the implementation of any scenario. If the possibility becomes a reality, the total duration of the Putin era will be 24 years. And here it is for the democratic countries, to put it mildly, is not typical. Closest pursuer among the leaders of Western democracies — the German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who held the post for 16 years — Vladimir Vladimirovich surpassed a year and a half ago. What’s the West — that’s it, in a few months, January 27, 2018, would beat the achievement of Leonid Brezhnev, who ruled for 18 years 27 days. Then from the post-revolutionary rulers of Russia ahead will only Stalin with his record-breaking 29-year anniversary.

But the reason is, again, not so much for celebration as for concern. As rightly remarked Mr Putin issued in 1999, the effectiveness of the leader is inversely proportional to the period of his reign. The longer, the more there is risk for the country, for the ruling team for the ruler. Exceptions to this rule no.

If someone referred to those of the record of Stalin — they say, that the years were only filled with wisdom and strength — he is seriously mistaken. The current hot fans of “effective management” should read memories watching him for medical professionals. In their almost unanimous opinion, in the last period of life of the leader of his psyche was irreversibly destructive changes.

“The cruelty and suspicion of Stalin, fear of enemies, loss of adequacy in the evaluation of people and events, the extreme stubbornness — all this has created to a certain extent cerebrovascular atherosclerosis (or rather, these traits are exaggerated atherosclerosis), was convinced academician of AMS USSR cardiologist Alexander Myasnikov, who was at the bedside of the dictator in the last days and hours of his life. — Ruled the government, in fact, a sick man. He concealed his disease, avoided a medicine, afraid of her revelations.”

Nikita Khrushchev in his memoirs expressed even more definitely: “a complete lack of control! We talked sometimes that he’ll ever reach that will be pants if we withdraw and relieve themselves at the table, and then say that it is in the interests of the Motherland. He, of course, was already touched”.

By the way, the conviction of the same Nikita, if Stalin would have lived a while, you will certainly would venture a new bloody purge, during which he would lay down the head and many of the members of his entourage: “We… returned to the grinder 1937”. And it explains much of the behavior of this environment in the last days of the Stalin era. Some researchers even think that the master of the Kremlin has passed not without the help of colleagues, fearful of his plans. And the historians-traditionalists who disagree with the version of a Palace coup, recognize that “Stalin’s guard” didn’t really took the time to help the leader.

Of course, in our case, all is not so dark and dramatic. Mr President, as evidenced by his recent live shows and latest photos Topless, FIE-FIE, all right. The most picky observer will not be able to tell any signs of physical or mental disorders. Nevertheless a variety of risks and there are already visible, that is, to the naked eye.

Portuguese dream

To live in Russia for the last 18 years, no doubt, is better and more fun. If you compare socio-economic indicators 1999 and 2017, the contrast is so striking that you might think that we are talking about completely different powers. Judge for yourself.

Average monthly wages: 1999 — 1522,6 rubles, or 62 USD (hereinafter the calculations used the average rate for the relevant period); 2017 (data for July) — 39 355 rubles ($660). Average retirement: 18 years ago — 449 rubles, or $ 17; now — 12 923 ruble (216 “green”). GDP in dollar terms increased by 6.5 times — from 196 billion to 1.28 trillion. The share of the population with incomes below the subsistence minimum fell from 28,4 to 15 percent.

The result is more than excellent. However, the joy of these historic achievements greatly overshadow the fact that on the eve of Putin’s current presidency, in 2011, the situation was even better than it is now. Much better.

In the six years of Putin’s current term, the average salary decreased by $ 140 (was 800), the average pension by 64 (was 280). The share of the poor, rather poor increased by 2.3 percentage points (it was 12,7, was 15 percent). And this despite the fact that the country largely lives at the expense of reserves accumulated in the “fat” years.

By the end of 2016, the Federal budget deficit amounted to 2.97 trillion rubles (2011 ended with a 442-billion-dollar surplus). GDP, if you count the green, fell to 770 billion, or 1.6 times.

Someone will probably claim and has said that Putin is neither here nor there, it’s all about the deteriorating foreign economic situation and the sanctions of the West. But, continuing this line of thought, it would be to admit that Putin had nothing to do with our previous successes. And then the whole thing was also in an external and higher forces. And such a conclusion would not be absolutely unfounded.

However, I remember at the meetings of the movement “Nashi” the growth of world prices for oil and other raw materials in all seriousness was due to Putin’s growing influence. Further development of this interesting theory for obvious reasons did not get would have to admit that the power of the leader began to wane. Although something this naive occultism “cheering the homeboys”, pripisivati the object of his adoration is truly magical properties, after all.

The legendary luck of Vladimir Putin in the past, bring it back don’t help any magic mantra. Moreover, the effect of the spell is often the opposite. “If the world prices (for oil. — “MK”) will be held at the level of $ 80, all production will collapse,” — said Putin in October 2014. Two months later the price of “black gold” fell to $ 50 per barrel and a year later fell below 30. Disaster, thank God, did not happen neither in the world nor in the country. Oil slightly rebounded from the bottom price, and the economy began gradually to recover from the shock. According to the latest forecast, the MAYOR, at the end of this year, GDP will grow by 2.1 percent, and by 2020, the growth will accelerate to 2.3…

But 18 years ago dreamed about is incomparably greater. “To achieve per capita GDP production at the level of modern Portugal or Spain — countries that are not related to the leaders of the world economy — we need about 15 years with the GDP growth rate of 8 percent a year, — wrote Vladimir Putin in his article “Russia at the turn of the Millennium”, published 30 December 1999. — If we can during these same 15 years to sustain a GDP growth at 10 percent per year, will reach the current level of per capita GDP of UK or France.”

And here is the reality. The percentage of gross national product per one Russian citizen is 8 $ 750 (2016). For Portugal the same indicator is 19 for $ 900. Russia is lagging behind not only from the notebook of the outsider in Western Europe, but also from most new EU member States: GDP per capita Czech Republic — 18 $ 550; Estonia — 17 650; Latvia — 14 200… Well, to France, do as the moon is 37 000 dollars. The closest we got to the Romanians, but they have overtaken — 9 500 green per capita.

Equally depressing look at the European background and our other socio-economic achievements. Suffice it to say that the minimum wage in the forever mental retardation Portugal — 650 euros, or 45 700 rubles (at the average exchange rate for August), significantly higher than the average Russian. And the French “minimal” in translation on Russian banknotes — 104 000. For comparison: the minimum wage in Russia from 1 July — 7800 rubles.

The dispute of the Slavs

It’s hard to say what will be the new strategic plan candidate number one, but it is unlikely he will be as ambitious as 18 years ago: Portugal, alas, disappeared over the horizon capabilities. And what us that Hecuba? A pure abstraction. A much more important reference point in the system of our strategic coordinates is today the once brotherly Ukraine. Here everything is close, tangible, comparable. Ukraine appears on our TV screens almost hell on earth, a visual aid on the theme “Why it is not necessary to overthrow the government”: famine, pestilence, and gay pride parades. But it is obvious that “anti-Maidan” propaganda arguments will be effective only as long as the standard of living in the Square will be significantly lower than in Russia.

While the reason for the fears I have. Average monthly salary in Ukraine in terms of Russian currency is 17 thousand rubles, the average monthly pension was 4.4 thousand. But growth rates are impressive.

Over the past year, the average Ukrainian salary increased by almost 40 per cent (real wages, adjusted for inflation — 19), and the minimum — as much as 2 times, up to 3200 UAH, or up to 7.4 thousand. By the way, according to the latest statistical indicator, Ukraine is very close to Russia, and in one respect even ahead. Their “minimum salary” for almost two exceeds the local cost of living (1624 hryvnia), while the Russian minimum wage significantly below this floor, amounting to us 9909 rubles.

In short, the race is on, and our victory is not guaranteed. Moreover, according to some experts, we are in a strategically less advantageous position. And business not only and not so much in increasing sanctions.

Studies show a strong link between the efficiency of the economy, level of development of democratic institutions and the duration of stay of the Governor at the helm of state. Among them we can highlight the work of European economists Jason Papaioannou and Jan van Luyten Zydena “the Effect of the dictator: as the length of the Board affects the economic development in Africa and the middle East.”

Using data for 58 countries, the authors came to the following conclusion: every additional year authoritarian leader reduces the GDP growth rate on average by 0.13 percent. In other words, non-democratic regime at the late stage of its existence, which is obviously less efficient in economic terms than in the years of “young”.

Russia in the study did not appear, but the curves of our development also do not look too optimistic. According to the most relevant international rankings, the level of democracy in the country since the beginning of the century declined sharply. Version information, for example, Freedom House, we are today “not free”, from the Bertelsmann — “autocracy”, the Economist — “an authoritarian regime”. You can, of course, to doubt the objectivity and accuracy of these “lines”, but, first, others do not, and secondly, as the Russian saying goes, blame the mirror, if you have problems with the face — the last thing.

Well, then, that the face of our democracy is seriously distorted, not even hide some of them. Including, for example, the head of the constitutional court Valery Zorkin, who said that “authoritarian elements in the management, of course, attend.” However, nothing in this General overseer of the Basic law does not see. Moreover, “in Russia today, any loosening of the screws will turn no less, and a great infringement of the fundamental rights of citizens.”

The opportunity to test this hypothesis practice still was not: the gadget is only twisted. And to say that our fundamental rights from this win, so much sin against the truth. But even more, it seems, hurts the economy. In 2000 (the first year of Putin’s rule), the GDP grew by 10 percent. In 2004 (the first year of his second four-year) growth of 7.2. In 2008 (the first “tandem”) — a 5.2. In 2012 (beginning of the third term) is 3.7. The result of the past, 2016 or minus 0.2 percent.

In General, the stronger the tightened threaded connection of our state of the machine, the slower its economic spin gear. Nothing surprising. As rightly said 18 years ago by Vladimir Putin — it’s hard to resist not to quote again this timeless idea — “everything in moderation”.

Ice age

“I’d stop, but I can’t, can’t, can’t… can’t and don’t want to.” Alien soul, as you know, dark, but, perhaps, not be too bold to assume that the experiences of the lyrical heroine of Alla Pugacheva in something close to the mood that prevails today in the higher echelons of power. You know deep down that the chosen path leads nowhere but collapse with him no longer able. And this is the main difference of the current political autumn of spring of the Putin era. Then in power was a choice, not now.

Yeltsin left a legacy successor is not clear crystallized the political system and the melt, Brownian motion. Putin had a historic chance to try to sculpt out of this preplasma something civilized and balanced. But the second President of Russia began the painstaking development, building political institutions, it did easier — and took a frozen he inherited the melt. Somehow it reminds known children’s game “the Sea worries time…”. “Figures,” did not want to accept the new rules and stopping, disappeared from the political scene.

Tactically, Putin won, but from the point of view of political development these years, we must admit lost to the country. Despite the strong “vertical”, the risks associated with the transfer of power, not only not decreased but has grown. One wrong move and “freeze” immediately depart, returning the country to the birth pains of democracy.

It almost happened six years ago when “angry citizens” dissatisfied “castling” threw out their protest to the streets. The immediate cause of protests began elections to the state Duma, estimated then most of society as unfair. But the main culprit of the feast of disobedience is, of course, Dmitry Medvedev, declared in the beginning of his reign that “freedom is better than unfreedom”.

Beyond words, however, it does not matter — Yes, as it turned out, and couldn’t go, but had already some dreams. After Medvedev on 24 September 2011 announced to the delegates of the Congress of “United Russia” and the entire country of the “willingness to do practical work in the government,” a part of society, linking their hopes with the “modernizing” (and it was a very large part), felt about the same as bride, betrothed which has escaped from the altar. Nothing promotes political destabilization, as the disappointment of the electorate in the leader.

The government has taken this experience: no “thaws” and “upgrades”, even in the form of verbal interventions. And never will be. A will, on the contrary, more deep freeze. In another mode of the present system of government to exist simply can not. Even maintaining the current temperature, not to mention increasing the degree, fraught with imbalance: the rise and finding of resolution of conflicts — political, economic, social, ethnic, religious — will inevitably undermine the “vertical”.

By the way, according to informed sources “MK”, this fall on the consideration of the lower house received the new large package of “protective” laws, seriously narrowing the limits of political and information space.

There is even less reason to expect new changes. The ruling team can no longer afford such a luxury. Once could, but not now. Vyacheslav Volodin, of course, somewhat exaggerated the role of the personality of the current President in history, saying: “There is Putin is Russia. No Putin — no Russia”. But if the word “Russia” replace “the existing political system”, the sentence is quite correct. It is not necessary to be a great Oracle to predict: is Putin to let go of the wheel, as the system goes berserk.

Yes, the overthrow of the existing order are not interested today, neither the elites nor ordinary citizens — the vast majority of them. And those and others, on the contrary, are very concerned that Putin is stalling so long with the announcement of his next coming to power. But no matter how high the ratings, they do not supersede the laws of nature and society. An increasing share of power power is given to the maintenance of the status quo, to itself, and all the lesser on development. And so, nearer the time when this legacy mechanism will no longer cope with their functions.

Sanctions . Chronicle of events

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