Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

My Photo
Location: Bath, Maine, United States

With a new administration in Washington it will be a challenge to get the 'liberals' to hold Biden-Harris to the few 'progressive promises' they made during their campaign. Biden is bringing back many of Bush & Obama's neo-cons to head his foreign policy. I'll be on this case without hesitation.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Teaching Russia democracy?


I read an article in Foreign Policy (FP) magazine this past week about Russia's transition to new leadership after the expected retirement of Vladimir Putin once his current term runs out. The article does what most western 'elite' journals do - they give you a seed of information and a whole lot of posturing and power mongering.  Below are a few bits from the article.


Time to Think About a World Without Putin
The Russian leader is contemplating his mortality—as are his backers.

 Foreign Policy (FP)

Putin is not solely responsible for shaping Russia’s foreign and domestic policies, or the government structures that enact them. He heads a collective group of stakeholders, including business leaders, the siloviki (“securocrats”) of the armed forces and security services, and regional magnates. Putin and his network directly benefit from their positions of power, but the broader network of stakeholders also wants to remain in power and maintain their access to the state’s resources regardless of whether Putin is in command or not.

The Russian leadership, with Putin still serving as the main instigator and adjudicator, is thus looking to establish long-term political stability that would prevent future leaders from upsetting the balance they created. From Putin’s own patriotic perspective, this would spare Russia another weak leader like former President Boris Yeltsin who would allow the state to be weakened from within.

The main mechanism for securing this continuity is the recent slew of constitutional changes that are being enacted within Russia, which created a subtle yet significant shift of governance. Under the new constitution, for example, the Duma (Russia’s Parliament) obtains the sole power to appoint a series of cabinet members focused on domestic politics and economic policies, while the presidency obtains clearer powers in appointing the portion of the cabinet geared towards foreign policy and external security. Of similar importance is the rising role of Russia’s so-called Councils, including the Security Council (currently largely an advisory board to the president) and the Federation Council that represents the regions of the Russian Federation. New legislation is set to define the authority of these councils more clearly and will allow for a further separation of powers beyond the presidency.


The West needs to start considering what a Russia without Putin will look like, dissecting the new system and watching for opportunities to cultivate and support people within these power structures who can steer Russia on a course more conducive to U.S. interest.

To that end, the United States also needs to be extremely calculating in its use of targeted sanctions against members of the Russian government, and be flexible enough to ease or eliminate sanctions as a sign of good faith. The application of sanctions has multiplied profusely in recent years, and risks alienating a future generation of leaders who feel themselves cut off from and alien to the West. The United States must be mindful that future shifts in how Russia is governed and who is leading it are at most two decades away, and work towards dealing not just with Moscow today, but with the leaders of the future.


~ Foreign Policy (FP) is owned by Graham Holdings Company (formerly The Washington Post Company), a diversified American conglomerate holding company. Headquartered in Arlington County, Virginia, and incorporated in Delaware, it was once the owner of The Washington Post newspaper and Newsweek magazine.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home