Letters to a colleague: 4) Russia: rule of fear and myth of stability

On the one hand you say, Russia is acting just as everybody else, so it is no different from the western countries essentially, on the other, you suggest, it still needs to be changed.

Extralegal killings were not invented by Putin, they were invented probably at about the same time as legal concept itself. However, cases when the security services and military are storming apartments with artillery, tanks and grenade launchers in Nalchik, Cherkessk, Makhachkala and Nazran were surely absent before Putin. It is not because there were no extremists in these cities before, it is just the conscious decision to use fear as a means of governing the people in the region.

I liked this “when you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail”J but I don’t think historical parallels are totally useless and unacceptable. In Russia’s case I think Thomas Graham is right in saying that Russia is reactionary, conservationist power that wants to stop world’s evolution. If you look at the first half of XIX century Russia played the role of “gendarme of Europe” keeping up stability, but also trying to prevent for instance unification of Germany. On a much smaller scale that is what Russia is trying to do now as well: freeze the situation around itself, no countries should join non-Russia sponsored blocks, no borders should be changed, no great powers should interfere with Russia’s domain – CIS countries, etc.  

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