Sunday, December 2, 2007

Sunday Morning Snowfall Post

Got a bit of a snowstorm last night in Hamilton. Now, we're digging-out. What's in the news?

Apparently, Vladimer Putin wants to be Prime Minister of Russia and there's a strong possibility that he'll get to be.

Putin represents the class of former-Soviet state rulers who helped orchestrate the top-down revolution that destroyed the official myth of "ownership by the people" and instead, through a corrupt privatization process, gave it to the managerial class (that is to say, themselves).

But some of these guys stayed in the public sector, and while they got rich through corruption, they got nowhere near as wealthy as the few, better-positioned who became "oligarchs" along with out-and-out mobsters. They watched resentfully as the oligarchs looted the country and took the wealth to Western banks, as Russia sank into the most pathetic weakness.

Putin represents the gang left behind by the oligarchs. But Putin's gang still controlled the legal system, and they have the power to crack-down on this tiny bunch of would-be plutocrats. No tactic is out-of-bounds to this ruthless caste.

Together with the high price of oil, Russia is on a sounder footing to make a stand in the world, but it's testimony to Russia's continued weakness that this stance is a nakedly surly, resentful, nasty one.

But what Putin's continued strength means is that democracy is still not an option. Not after the word was so abused and discredited during the Yeltsin era, when illegal state violence and massive corruption was greeted with applause by the sensitive, liberal West.

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