A New Term for a New ‘Tsar’

A New Term for a New ‘Tsar’

Thursday, 22 March, 2018 - 06:00
Vladimir Putin won Russia’s presidential elections… again!

An ‘electoral’ victory for the ‘Kremlin Tsar’ was not actually in doubt; and if the obvious reason is the lack of well-organized opposition, there are no less significant other reasons.

Without any prejudice against Russian political history and great heritage, and keeping in mind the fact that it was the power that came close to dominating the world, and is still capable of exterminating mankind and destroying our planet tens - even hundreds - of times over, Russia has never experienced democracy.

Yes, Russia has neither experienced nor practiced democracy, at least as defined and conceived in the West.

Russia moved from the primitive state of the Volga ‘Rus’, as depicted by the Arab traveler Ahmad Ibn Fadlan, the envoy of the Abbasid Caliph Al-Muqtadir (ruled between 908 and 932 AD) to the Volga Bulgars, to the Tsarist era. During that time, and thanks to three Tsars - Ivan ‘The Terrible’, Peter ‘The Great’ and Catherine II (or ‘The Great’) - Russia became a European and global power.

The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 ended the Tsarist era; and subsequently, the Communist Bolsheviks assumed absolute power albeit in the name of the people, indeed, the people’s working class.

Between 1917 and the collapse of the Soviet Union (USSR) in 1991 many faces, slogans and principles changed; however, nothing really changed in Russia’s imperialist ambitions and its authoritarian style of government.

In practice, the old Tsar - then the nation’s leader and the Orthodox Church protector - remained a virtual ‘tsar’ who retained absolute power. The ‘comradery’ spirit was rarely in view during leadership changes among its ‘commissars’, ‘ideologues’ and ‘peoples’ heroes’. The accepted norm was either: execution, deposition or exile … whether in Mexico where Leo Trotsky was murdered, or Siberia where several leading ‘comrades’ ended working in ‘collective farms’, energy generation stations, and other ‘retirement’ homes.

However, the USSR, this giant of a country, with a land area of more than 22 million square km – making it by far the World’s largest –, eventually collapsed after it failed to regenerate itself, cure its economic ills, and improve its view on human rights.

This great country, which pioneered space exploration and dominated almost half of the our planet, failed when it became clear that its ‘Communist’ leaders, such as Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin – as well as the KGB man Vladimir Putin – had nothing to do with Socialism, ‘peoples’ friendship’ or ‘proletariat’ lifestyle. It was gone when its ‘red tsars’ turned against their own slogans, idealism, and sermons broadcast across the world to millions, who eventually believed in them, and even fought and died attempting to fulfill them. The irony is that Soviet ‘Communism’ fell in Moscow but has remained alive and well in Havana, the capital of Cuba!

Following the demise brought about by former ‘comrades’, a new regime dawned. It has been a ‘hybrid system’ comprised of former Communist Party ‘apparatchiks’ brought to the top by nepotism and personal loyalties, a hotchpotch of ‘mafias’, and ‘front men’ of Western capital rushing to penetrate the ‘new’ Russia through wholesale privatization. The aim was to occupy what was the ‘heart’ of the falling giants and its largest and richest constituent.

It is fair to say the demise of the USSR began with Gorbachev’s accelerating concessions to the West’s most belligerent anti-Moscow leaderships. Dancing to tune of cynical Western praise of his ‘vision’ and ‘courage’, Gorbachev went too far in a naive and premature ‘opening up’. His actions were bound to worry the ‘Old Guard’ about selling out both Socialist ideals and the USSR power.

In the meantime, there was the rising star, Boris Yeltsin. The former Moscow Communist Party’s boss shocked many observers in April 1990, during his visit to London, when he showered Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the staunch anti-Socialist and avowed ‘enemy’ of trades unions, with admiration!

The ‘Old Guards’ unsuccessful desperate coup attempt during the summer of 1991 in the faint hope of ‘rescuing’ the USSR, actually, accelerated its collapse; more so when Yeltsin rode the wave against it. The attempt, itself, showed beyond doubt the fragility of the political, intellectual, and economic structure of a regime that had passed its sell by date.

With the rise of Yeltsin and demise of the USSR, Russia began a new phase in its history, virtually in every respect except its distance from true democracy. The aforementioned ‘hybrid system’ inherited, in fact, all the ills of the former Communist regime, but not its promotion of socialism and ‘peoples’ friendship’. However, it was never in the interest of the victorious West - after a long and fierce confrontation with USSR - to uncover the full truth about the new regime. On the contrary, the West was ready to overlook strident corruption, growth of diverse ‘mafias’, and fake democracy; as the West regarded Yeltsin merely as a receiver of a failed business. Actually, it was vital for Western capitals that Yeltsin continued his destruction of a the very power that threatened Western interests for so long.

Still, Russia remains much larger than any individual; and as time passed, seasoned political and well-connected ‘loyalists’ moved to reclaim their presence; among those was the ambitious and steely ex-KGB man Vladimir Putin, who stealthily managed to find his way to Yeltsin’s inner circle.

Ruthlessly putting down the Chechen second uprising (1999-2000) was the ‘blood baptism’ of the new leader rising from the intelligence community’s dungeons. Putin who hails from St. Petersburg, the old Tsarist capital built by Peter the Great - Russia’s greatest emperor - and made an architectural gem and a window to Europe, before becoming the birthplace of the Bolshevik Revolution, is a man with a strong memory and formidable willpower.

He embodies almost all the elements of Russia’s identity, and its nationalistic and religious pride. His psyche is infused with its imperial voracity, pains of its defeats and besiegement through the centuries. Thus, after his ‘coronation’ yet again, nobody should ever expect from Putin anything different from his systematic destruction of Syria under the pretext of confronting extremists.

Furthermore, amid America’s confusion and Europe’s distraction, it is worth recalling one of Putin’s quotes: "No one should have any illusions that it's possible to achieve military superiority over Russia; we will never allow it!” …

So, we have witnessed the confirmation of a new kind of ‘Tsars’, albeit through the ballot box.

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