Savik Shuster predicts a long period of authoritarianism in Russia

August 11, 2007 at 4:39 pm 2 comments

Stalin and PutinAn interview with a journalist Savik Shuster was published on the Delfi.lt news portal in August 7.  Egle Digryte conducted the Interview.

Russia has started a long period of authoritarianism. If Vladimir Putin decides not to remain head of state in one form or another, an even bigger autocrat will replace him. Most likely, Russia will not experience a revolution like the revolutions that occurred in Georgia or Ukraine, because Russians tend to conform to regimes in their country. Journalist Savik Shuster, who was born and raised in Lithuania and who has Canadian and Italian citizenships, is convinced of this. Savik worked for Russian TV stations for a few years and now works as journalist in Ukraine.

Threat of Stalin-Type Dictator Coming to Power

“Today, Russia is on a road where it is useless even to think about democracy. They are under Putin’s authoritarian regime. He will either remain in power in one form or another, or he will leave. If he leaves, there will be such fierce fighting that an even greater authoritarian will come to power. That will be the only way to stop the power struggle,” Shuster told Delfi. According to him, there is little chance that the current president will easily surrender his post or abandon the possibility of influencing national life: “I must quote Grigoryi Yavlinskyi, who said the next Russian president will be Putin, but it is not yet clear in what form.”

Shuster says that the Russian president’s post is not open to a person from private business or democratic political powers, because, for various reasons, the liberal democratic parties are weak and businessmen cannot influence the country’s elite and society. The only business representative who had any kind of political prospect was Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the jailed former president of Yukos.

“Mikhail Gorbachev will not replace Putin. If we make crude historical comparisons, we can say that a Stalin-type person may come to power. I have a feeling that a long period of authoritarian rule has begun in Russia,” the journalist said. However, he also admits that the regime exhibits certain signs of weakness: “They are afraid of everything. They are even afraid of words, in a way they were not afraid in the Soviet Union. There are certain symptoms, but Russia will definitely not turn toward democracy.”

Looking Back Toward Past Due To Lack of National Idea

Shuster is convinced that a revolution, similar to the 2003 “Rose Revolution” in Georgia or the 2004 “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine, is impossible in Russia, because Russian people tend to conform to living conditions dictated by the government.

“They take what the government gives them. If they are given democracy, they will live under democracy. If they are given totalitarianism, they will live under totalitarianism. Is that a Russian problem? Basically, yes. Russia is too big,” Shuster said.

According to him, the majority of Russians long for Soviet times. This is why more and more symbols (the anthem melody, for example) of the failed regime are resurrected. Putin, who killed the manifestations of democracy that could be seen under Boris Yeltsin, likes to stress that the collapse of the USSR was a tragedy.

“Today, they do not have a national ideology. For example, in the US such an ideology is a good life. In France – it is a good life, plus protection of the French culture. Russia does not have such a national idea, with the exception of advancing the interests of certain very rich people. It is impossible to create a national idea from natural gas and oil. Therefore, they tend to look toward the past in search of former glory days. Certain imperial tendencies exist. Such tendencies exist in the US, too, but that country is acting in the name of democracy. In whose name is Russia acting? In the name of natural gas, oil? Russia uses those things to blackmail other countries,” Shuster said.

Source BBC Monitoring

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Entry filed under: Baltic States, Lithuania, Northern Europe, Politics, Russia, Totalitarian regimes.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Blanka  |  September 2, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Savik,

    just will be curious to know how is you life going on..

    Reply
  • 2. Dawne Thormahlen  |  May 22, 2011 at 3:47 am

    Time is cash because the outdated saying goes, and by studying this post, I spotted that I saved myself a whole lot of treasured time, which might have been in any other case spent on studying low consistency information throughout the almighty web. Thanks for the straight to the point, precious input!

    Reply

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