Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Not The Smartest Thing To Say
In his annual state of the nation address to parliament and the country's top political leaders, Putin said the Soviet collapse was "a genuine tragedy" for Russians.I am not sure I know how to react to that. Putin seems to be saying that the unity supplied by the Soviet system strengthened Russia -- that was true, but it was a union formed out of oppression, fear, corruption and true evil. If he means that the departure of these things was also bad -- LOOK OUT!
Russians being who they are, are going to long for the days of strength. It seems to be a historical thing with them. They need a leader that does not lead them in nostalgia, but one that helps them form a new vision. They need to learn how to handle the chaos of freedom, not pine for the oppression of totalitarianism.
Somehow, I think this article more accurately reflects what Putin's real issues are.
The issues are largely local, but the complaints against Mr. Rakhimov's government evoke those that were raised against the recently ousted leaders in Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan and are now increasingly heard about Mr. Putin. They include allegations of manipulated elections, increasing state control of business, and corruption.Russia is really a relatively small area that has managed an empire. I wonder if, instead of struggling to hold that empire together, an approach similar to Britain might not be more suitable?
While Mr. Putin's authority seems to remain solid, events here reflect an emerging sense of grievance and impatience that is increasingly being expressed to one degree or another on the streets across Russia.