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Russia December 28, 2007
 
A Russia-Watcher’s Fairytale
By Sean Guillory Browse author Email
 
Page 2 of 3
 

Fascist aesthetics are merely the calm before the storm. Yakunin then moves against a series of new enemies of the people. A purge in the guise of an anticorruption campaign is launched against Yuri Luzhkov and Valentine Matvienko, who are executed for their embezzlement of billions. This also allows the new vozhd to physically liquidate "the Russian political elite of key figures unwilling to pledge 100 percent loyalty to the new Russian strongman."

But Yakunin is far from done. Kuchins' future Russia is a capitalist dictatorship where the Slavic nation's continued Asiatic despotism reproduces continued crises of capital. Yakunin's hand is forced yet again (as if it needed it) to mute the cries of the people. His solution? "Internal checkpoints as a means to bring greater separation to the haves and have-nots" and quarantining "guest workers from the Caucasus, Central Asia, and China." And when Western powers howl about the close links between the intelligent services and the media (the latter prove resourceful in Yakunin's "anticorruption campaigns") Yakunin looks to Deng Xiaoping for a witticism. "It doesn't matter whether the cat is white or black; what matters is how it catches mice," he quips.

By the end of "A Shot in the Dark ...", Russia is riding high, comfortable in its almost genetically inscribed authoritarian nature. The saddest part about "A Shot in the Dark" is not that this garbage is considered acceptable expert opinion. It's that it's done with such poor literary execution and lack of imagination. The plot is clearly culled from several "pivotal" episodes in Russian history. Putin's assassination could easily be the sudden death of Tsar-retard Fedor Ivanovich in 1598, Tsar Alexander I getting blown up by terrorists in 1881, or Sergei Kirov's murder in 1934. Kuchins having Zubkov fleeing into hiding is based on Stalin's fabled disappearance when the Nazis began rolling into Soviet Russia in June 1941. Sechin, Ivanov, Patrushev are either Muscovy boyars or neo-versions of Malenkov, Beria, and Molotov. The massacre of the oil workers is a shout out to the Lena Goldfield Massacre or Bloody Sunday. Yakunin is simply a poor man's Stalin. His "purge" of political elites and "quarantine" of non-Russians is simply a Russian History For Dummies version of Stalinism. As far as the Kremlin intrigue which strangely pits the siloviki against Putin, this is simply a rerun of a number of Winter Palace intrigues whether they be the murders of Peter III (1762), Paul I (1801), or the Decembrists attempt to prevent Nicholas I from taking the throne (1825).

Readers disappointed by a future Russia mired in darkness shouldn't fret. Heads always has tails and every thorn has a rose. Democracy is on the march, after all, and not even Russia can deny the elixir of "freedom." Even though every half-competent person knows Western-style liberal democracy is a dead ideology in today's Russia, this doesn't preclude Kuchins' faith in the future march of History. And it's in "Putinism Falls from Grace... and Democracy Rising Again" where he shows his literary acumen. He even introduces a literary device into the mix: the deus ex machina. According to Oxford, a deus ex machina, roughly translated as "god from a machine" is "a power, event, person, or thing that comes in the nick of time to solve a difficulty; providential interposition, esp. in a novel or play." In literature, the hand of God can come in the form of an angel, a miracle, or even the fancy pen pistol James Bond uses to kill the evil spy. The deus ex machina may be unexpected but it always, always does the trick.

In "Putinism Falls from Grace ... and Democracy Rises Again," the sun finally sets on the Putin experiment. Sure, the 2008 succession was managed "effectively" but by summer Sergei Ivanov's reign was thrown into turmoil. The agent of history? Why it's, drum roll please, the United States! Al Gore wins the US Presidency via an "unlikely coalition of Democrats and fundamentalist Christian Republicans devoted to promoting a new energy policy for the United States." Oil prices fall through the floor. Russia is "thrown into deficit" and its "growth rate [plummets] to 2 percent that year before going negative in subsequent years."


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