A Decade With Putin

Yeltsin appoints Putin successorBoris Tumanov looks at a decade of Putinism, writing that “Russia is the only country in the world where history revels in the subjunctive mood,” and marvels that the country “still cannot decide whether the hecatomb of Stalinism was a monstrous crime or a great boon for the country.”

Tumanov challenges the notion that if Russia had carried out a sweeping lustration, Putinism might not have happened. He calls the last decade “the revanche of the sovok.” Tumanov argues that the urge to restore elements of the Soviet system began not in 1999, but in 1993 or even earlier.

He argues that the results would have been largely the same if Yeltsin and Boris Berezovsky “had chosen not an ex-chekist from Petersburg, but a Petersburg lawyer or the head of a furniture store. Or even someone from Vladivostok or Novocherkassk.” No choice would have “altered the intractable clan nature of power in Russia.”

The return of the sovok is inevitable in a society “where people silently endure any humiliation on the part of their own government but are outraged at the very thought that the United States might not “respect” Russia or, worse “is not afraid” of Russia.”


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