Saturday, November 12, 2011

Russia as Postmodernist Theatre

Meet the New Dictatorship, not quite like the Old Dictatorship:
In contemporary Russia, unlike the old USSR or present-day North Korea, the stage is constantly changing: the country is a dictatorship in the morning, a democracy at lunch, an oligarchy by suppertime, while, backstage, oil companies are expropriated, journalists killed, billions siphoned away. [Vladislav] Surkov is at the centre of the show, sponsoring nationalist skinheads one moment, backing human rights groups the next. It’s a strategy of power based on keeping any opposition there may be constantly confused, a ceaseless shape-shifting that is unstoppable because it’s indefinable.
Link.   So Peter Pomerantsev on the power behind the Putin throne.  The headline says "Putin's Rasputin," though I suspect Pomerantsev might not have fancied the choice of labels. By all accounts Rasputin was an authentic nutter who held a gullible Tsarina in thrall.   Surkov--and Putin, and the other one--may actually know what they are doing.  So much the worse for Russia.

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