Russia's lost victory

Author : Ihor Solovey

19:38, 22 August 2016

Russia's lost victory

Author : Ihor Solovey

The country has changed its status from a totalitarian monster to an ordinary authoritarian kleptocracy

19:38, 22 August 2016

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Associated Press

The crosscutting theme of the outgoing week is the 25th anniversary of the defeat of the August coup, which has become a prologue to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the creation of a dozen new countries, including Russia. The main media trend is maintained in Putin's style: fall of the USSR is the biggest geopolitical catastrophe. The defeat dissolution of the Emergency Committee is an “ephemeral eclipse.”

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Probably, Kremlin, with its fear of "colorful revolutions," recalls these events quite frequently. Then, I remember, paratroopers and KGB special forces refused to shoot the people. The then Commander of the Airborne Forces Pavel Grachev and the group "A" Colonel Viktor Karpuhin actually sabotaged the implementation of a direct order to storm the building of the Supreme Council, risking a court martial. The creation of the National Guard, directly subordinated to Putin, should prevent a repetition of this situation. Putin will give orders to his former bodyguard Viktor Zolotov, appointed to command the National Guard. Thus, Putin has drawn conclusions from the dissolution of the Emergency Committee.

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According to polls, Russians are quite skeptical about the results of the victory over the conspirators. Half of them did not remember or did not know what was happening. About a third of those who remember estimated the August events as "tragic events with consequences for the country and the people." Another 35% believe it is "just an episode of a struggle for power,” and only 8 percent are convinced that it is a "democratic victory revolution that put an end to the Communist Party power."

And finally, many pages of comments in the social media were devoted to lamentations about the lost or stolen victory, about a short moment of a democracy in Russia. Our country has changed its status from a totalitarian monster to an ordinary authoritarian kleptocracy instead of democracy. Here a reasonable question arises: who is responsible of this?

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The employees of the collapsed totalitarian regime cannot truly love the ideas of liberal democracy. It is quite naturally that they estimate the events, which happened a quarter century ago, as a catastrophe. This sad truth is that Putin now is not only clever usurper, who uses manipulates the public opinion. Putin expresses all the prejudices and beliefs of an average Russian. Yes, the Kremlin cleverly uses the dark side of the national consciousness. Russia’s struggle for freedom coincided with a deep economic crisis.

So who is responsible for the missed opportunities? Maybe it is time to look in the mirror? We should blame those who appointed a retired officer of the secret police the national leader. Alas, Russian educated class was not ready for freedom. It has readily exchanged personal security for all sorts of material preferences and guarantees. If we want to make a complaint, we should focus should on those who have wasted this quarter of a century.

Russia did not have a strong tradition of the democratic government, so it cannot rely on its political tradition. In fact, these 25 years should be used for creating a new political tradition, but unfortunately, it did not happen. Russians needed to have an antidote to the obscurantism of the imperial poison, used by Putin's propagandists.

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We know that the history has no “ifs.” There is no sense to appeal to the people who have chosen political death. The problem of political education did not disappear. The new ideas should be proclaimed in the school classes and on the Ru-net. Maybe, the fate is giving us a chance? 

Related: The National Interest: The EU Looks Like the Dying Soviet Empire

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