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Putin's Successor Will be Worse Than Putin

Putin's Successor Will be Worse Than Putin
Alexander Nagorny, Nikolay Konkov 03.11.2006

Annual "direct lines" with president Putin for a long time became really "firm genre" of his communications with the Russian society - however, their place was always defined hardly "below" federal messages. It is understandable - here we have "simple people" while there - "vertical of authority". But representatives from "people" during "direct lines" can ask questions and the president – should answer them, while a "message" is sounded in a rigid monologue - even more rigid than it was accepted on the last sessions of “the ruling and guiding power of the Soviet society” – the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

Then party leaders of different ranks and other delegates according to the established tradition should have discussed the report of the General Secretary making their offers and amendments. In due course that practice has regenerated in full "agreement" and later it in general has been eliminated as superfluous - together with the party …

But "direct lines" which are not without mockery call "the supreme form of modern Russian democracy", in general overturn all communicative situation "authority-society" topsy-turvy: "people" ask the president questions and the president as the carrier of truth in the last instance answers them. There’s no democracy in all these, certainly - pure authoritarianism and paternalism. It is possible even to promise easily to relieve of drugs the city Bor of Nizhniy Novgorod area and to stop destruction of building of the patriotic club in Ekaterinburg…

But in fact announced more than two million calls mean that people have more than enough questions to the present authority and nobody can answer them except for the president. I.e. society has no trust to the lower floor of the present "verticals of authority". Not the least of it. And what do we have to wait for further?.. That to "tsar-father" it also will gave out as it more than once occurred in the Russian history? Anyway, sociological services fix decrease in a rating of "direct lines" approximately twice in comparison with December, 2001 when such form of communication has been established for the first time.

At first sight a paradoxical situation appears: the number of references to the president of Russia within the limits of "a direct line" grows while public interest to his answers falls. However this visible paradox is being solved by itself if to accept that social support of the present political system of the Russian Federation is sharply narrowing, expectations of the population are appreciably transferring/flowing "to the very top" but in even greater degree are "evaporating", "thawing" provoking indifference and disbelief in adequacy of the present “powerful vertical”.

Elections into local legislative assemblies on October, 8th this year showed that even 25%-s' quorum of voters is being overcame hardly and from those who voted a lot of prefer the candidate "against all". Thus in a political reality two inter-dependent phenomenon arise and constitute: "the state without a society" and "a society without the state".

In similar situation the most important and even unique link between a society and the state appears, as a rule, the legitimate leader of the last. In our case - particularly the president Putin. His elimination/leave/disappearance in itself are fraught with full and final break of communication between the state and a society. That is why conversations about "the third term" receive so serious and growing support in all layers of the Russian society from the top to the bottom. However Putin, as it appears from his numerous applications, including one during "a direct line", is going to leave the post. To leave "not entirely" but having named the successor and influencing "powerful vertical" "from the side" - but to leave all the same.

Applications of similar type if only to accept them seriously instead of within the limits of habitual for Putin experience "to think one thing, to speak another and to do the third thing", show regrettable misunderstanding by the president and his nearest environment of the valid state of affairs in modern Russia.

Putin and "Putin’s successor" are – one and the same. If Putin has been named and is continuing to be named " Yeltsin’s successor" formally as soon as the president Yeltsin after execution of the House of Councils in 1993, farcical elections of 1996 and a default of 1998 has completely lost the legitimacy in opinion of a society. His leave has been waited by everyone: some (the overwhelming majority) - with hope, as god-send, others (imperously-oligarchical minority) - with fear. And what occurred on the 31st of December, 1999 was, as a matter of fact, the palace revolution that was destroying "Yeltsin’s" legitimacy in essence but kept it in due form. And in this quality Putin's appearance in the Kremlin appeared not simply the compromise which satisfied both "the tops" and "the bottoms" but also the beginning of new, actually "Putin’s" legitimacy, then confirmed by the elections in 2000 and in 2004.

Appointment in such conditions of the "successor" who, on the contrary, isn’t wanted and accepted neither "the tops", nor "the bottoms" - will appear to be both a political mistake and the end of this Putin’s legitimacy. As it will be inevitable to have in the consequence fight of competing powerful clans: in the federal Center and on places.

All present contradictions are instantly being corrected outside – at that in sharp and even in maximum sharp forms. Certainly, thus the attitude of a society to Putin as to the person who had all opportunities to prevent similar succession of events but didn’t make it would change sharply. That is "the train is off" as Vladimir Vladimirovich has neither "the right of birth" as Ivan Grozny had, nor "the rights of valour" as the general de Gaulle - but only one "right of the moment". The moment, which and without that has stretching for a unimaginably long time – almost for 8 years - but will be missed irrevocably at the moment of transfer of the supreme authority to hypothetic “successor”.

Yes, "humanly" such Putin's decision is easy to understand. First of all, his "third term" will be a direct call to the West and first of all - to the United States which have been doing, are doing and will do everything not to admit revival of Russia as world power and which still hold financial slipknot on a throat of our country and its imperous elite particularly.

Secondly, accruing social and connected with them interethnic intensity in the Russian society cannot be solved within the limits of "liberally-monetarist” economic rate which the government of the Russian Federation continues to lead. While they are damped somehow due to a stream of "petrodollars" but at the change of authority in Washington and falling of prices for energy carriers even "the oxygen pillow" of Stabfund will not rescue - simply because of a phenomenon of "scarce demand". Only in the end of 80th years "physical persons" laid in stocks salt, matches, cigarettes and soap for the future and in the end of 2000th already “legal bodies”: corporations and regions will be engaged in money stocking. And up to here. That is prospects of "Russia after 2008" seem to be critical and, moreover, catastrophic.

Therefore temptation to dump responsibility in time on a certain successor, "having kept the trust of people", the present "owner of the Kremlin" is quite big. But, as it is already noted above, in this case Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin should remain in history as "the blind guide of the blinds" who fell all together in a chasm.

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