Talking with a friend about modernized way of democracy,
couldn’t just leave behind the Russian mannerism .
How it all started? Guess a confusing fact even for a Russian citizen.
Of course the great wind of change occurred since Gorbachev allowed for the first time small private companies to exist. This was the first step until…
Summer of ’91 and a bunch of hardliners in the Soviet leadership calling themselves the ‘State Emergency Committee‘(mostly known as the gang of 8 ) launched the famous August coup in an attempt to remove Gorbachev from the state. The whole thing was a fiasco and the final collapse was a matter of fact.
From the ashes and new Russian rebirth, Boris Yeltsin became
the strong man of a country that its name is not Soviet Union anymore and isn’t socialistic too.
Rapid release of prices immersed Russia into a deep crisis. The state wasn’t able even to pay the salaries of its employees. People started to face pauperism.
To avoid new problems Russian government launched a program of free vouchers as a way to give mass privatization a jump-start. Russian citizens were issued vouchers for purchase of shares of select state enterprises.
Due to extended crisis most of them ended in the hands of intermediaries who were ready to buy them for cash right away. So, giveaways of valuable state assets met only a small group of young businessmen under governmental encouragement. A new clan rised in the mid-1990s known as “oligarchs“. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Vladimir Potanin, Vladimir Bogdanov, Rem Viakhirev, Vagit Alekperov, Alexander Smolensky, Victor Vekselberg, Mikhail Fridman and a few years later Roman Abramovic are famous around the globe.
By the end of the decade, Boris Yeltsin seems tired and unable to keep heading the state.
Vladimir Putin was about to come. A new era has just began. In the beginning, nothing presignified any change of policy for oligarchs but soon Putin came up against then.
He simply demanded submission. Media that belong to one of them, Vladimir Gusinsky would shutdown violently and Gusinsky himself is exiled.
Russia’s richest man, the oil magnate, Mikhail Khodorkovsky , was jailed for nine years after what was seen as a Kremlin-orchestrated show trial to crush a political rival.
The 2 examples above are only the exceptions, people like Roman Abramovic, played Putin’s game, followed his rules and totally accepted his superiority. They simply became governmental assistants and supporters in the background (or not).
These tactics tend to be common, on 1st november 2006, Alexander Litvinenko , a former KGB security officer and writer of “Blowing up Russia: Terror from within” and “Lubyanka Criminal Group” , suddenly fell ill and was hospitalised. He died three weeks later due to polonium – 210 radiation poisoning under highly suspicious circumstances.
Novaya Gazetta is probably the only independent newspaper in Russia. It’s neither under kremlin’s control nor belongs to an oligarch. The price of such independence is sometimes cruel. 3 journalist have been murdered with most recent victim Anna Politkovskaya.
Politkovskaya, criticized the war in Chechnya and Putin’s Russia in her articles and books.
Journalists’ murders, top-down media, corruption, amoralism is only the one side. The other one has to do with more wealth (thanks to the international oil prices), sense of assurancefor the citizens and an overall heaviness of Russia in world’s scene. Fast wealth contrasts the homeless.
From soviet experiment to new russian capitalism. Nobody knows where that leads, but surely is a political thriller of our modern times and as a good Ukrainian friend says “We’re older and we’ve changed”.