Thursday, June 15, 2017

Paul Robinson — Large and complicated [Putin's Q & A]

In my opinion, the most significant thing Putin said was the following: ‘Our country is large and complicated’. That’s exactly right. The Russian leader is often portrayed as an all-powerful and all-knowing dictator. If anything happens within Russia, or in any way connected with Russia, it must be because Putin has personally ordered it. But in today’s show, we heard numerous complaints that laws weren’t being enforced, that compensation promised after natural disasters hadn’t been delivered, and the like. ‘It’s strange’, Putin said more than once, ‘It’s strange.’ Instructions have been been delivered, but nothing has been done. Putin may be boss in the Kremlin, but in a country as large and complicated as Russia, the Kremlin’s writ doesn’t always reach the provinces. 
We need ‘social control’ to hold local authorities to account, noted Putin, mentioning the All-Russian Popular Front, a large collection of non-governmental organizations founded by him as a means of mobilizing civil society to support government initiatives. It’s not civil society as many Western critics might imagine it, as it works with the state rather than opposes it, but it’s civil society nonetheless.
Simplistic models which portray Russia as a brutal dictatorship are hardly compatible with this, let alone with an event like the ‘Direct Line’. As Putin said, Russia is ‘large and complicated’. Indeed.
Western leaders, analysts and pundits seem to have conjured up an idea of a tradition of all-powerful Russian tsars and the Putin governs the same way, similar in style to Stalin, where his orders are instantly carried out or else, and he is therefore responsible for everything. That's just delusional.

Large and complicated
Paul Robinson | Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa

1 comment:

Kaivey said...

Pinned this to my start screen for ammo. There was a review of Oliver Stone's, The Putin Interviews, in the Guardian yesterday. It pretended to be fair while slipping in some anti Putin rhetoric, as the best propaganda does. About a quarter of the readers didn't buy it, but the rest did. I battled it out there defending Putin. I misread one pro Putin comment as negative, which is a shame. One person put a Buzzfeed article out on CiF which said the CIA believed that a number of Russians in Britain had been murdered at Putin's request. But the article offered no evidence, it just stated the CIA said.

I searched the internet and other articles described how the Russian mafia were responsible, so I put them on the Guardian CiF.

People reading Buzzfeed highly charged article would be shocked, about four Russians found dead in mysterious circumstances, but doesn't Buzzfeed do an article on the Clinton body count as well?