Posts Tagged ‘Vladimir Frolov’
Somehow, Frolov always makes me laugh. The latest?
When a Russian mind thinks up something truly innovative and useful for consumers — like Google, Yandex or Kaspersky antivirus software — it sells.
But no amount of image building will ever hide the fact that Russia has not yet mastered the art of designing a decent internal-combustion engine, a 19th-century technology.
Click on the link for the whole article.
Before asking his questions this week, Frolov says:
…there is an innovative theory that suggests that Medvedev could still rule Russia even if his run for the second term fizzled out – he would become the ruler of “Russia 2.0,” the leader of choice for the most dynamic and vibrant part of Russian society – the “innovating class.” Vladimir Putin would continue to lead a “traditional Russia” and its economy of oil and gas.
Then he asks:
Will Medvedev’s “modernization” succeed? Is it mostly just talk, or will there be real action to reform and modernize Russia? Are there parallels with the way Gorbachev launched his “perestroika” in the mid-1980s? Would Medvedev, like Gorbachev, face the need to modernize Russia’s politics in order to modernize its economy? Would he be able to remain in the driver’s seat of his modernization agenda, or, like Gorbachev in the 1980s, be thrown off the ship he is trying to upgrade? Could Medvedev really “rule Russia 2.0” with Putin coming back to rule “Russia 1.0”?
Now that I have given my response to Frolov’s questions, I would like to hi-light what Stephen Blank has to say:
I cannot speak for public opinion, but this fraud was wholly unnecessary if we are to believe the claim that Medvedev and Putin are so popular. If that were the case, there would be no need for fraud. Undoubtedly, the case in question points to bureaucratic guidance from above, with superiors setting targets for lower officials, etc. But it also attests to the cynicism of the elites and to the fallaciousness if not mendacity of the utter nonsense we hear about Medvedev’s liberalism.
Alexander II’s reformers were more liberal and they were very much statist. Ultimately, this tells us that the ruling system in Russia is brittle, that the elites know it and will do anything to stay in power regardless of the consequences. They don’t care how it looks.
Medvedev, for all of his speeches, is still afraid to do anything concrete in the way of reforms. Still, I do think that we can see signs of the inertia of the Putin system (in the sense of a system moving along the same line it has previously followed until it can go no further). No doubt other analysts and regime flacks will come up with all kinds of justifications for the fact that we have here a perfect likeness of, in Max Weber’s terms, “pseudo-Schienkonstitutionalismus,” and this shows that despite everything that has happened in Russia, it has still to get beyond what Russian historians used to call the “June 3 System,” with reference to Nicholas II’s forcible dispersal of the first two Dumas in 1906 to 07. If Tsarism is the best Russia can do, we are in for a very dangerous period.
Where does this leave Russia’s political system? Why was it necessary to engage in practices that might delegitimize the entire political process in order to secure a couple more seats for United Russia, which would have won the election anyway, albeit not with such astounding numbers? Why did Medvedev choose to defend United Russia’s fabricated results, instead of using the stolen election as a pretext to drive through his democratization agenda? What implications will it all have for United Russia and its grip on Russia’s political system? Does it reflect the voters’ dissatisfaction with the party of power, or is it just a consequence of the electorate’s apathy and lack of interest in representative government? Is it a sign of Putin’s political consensus coming apart at the seams, or is it just a temporary phenomenon that demonstrates the bureaucratic nature of Russia’s political system and its dependency on government bureaucracy for winning elections?
I’d like to try and post my own answers to some of these questions, rather than copying what everyone else says. Read the rest of this entry »
Sorry that I have been so bad about posting these. Here are Frolov’s questions for the week:
Does Medvedev deserve a Nobel Peace Prize for changing the tone and direction of international politics? Are his foreign policy accomplishments on a par with Obama’s? Is he perceived as a transformational world leader outside Russia? Is he a visionary in international affairs, with his proposals for a new security architecture in Europe and a new global financial architecture? Has he managed to bring new tone and style to Russia’s diplomacy and Russia’s approach to global issues, like WMD proliferation, global warming and financial stability? How does he fare internationally, compared to Obama?
I do not want to go into great detail, but most everybody laughed at Frolov. Read it!
When I read Vladimir Frolov’s latest to my sister, her first response was, “Is this satiracle?” Strangely enough, I do not think that it is. Vladimir Frolov seems entirely sincere here.
Why does Medvedev deserve the Nobel? According to Frolov,
(1) “…Medvedev is responsible for changing the tone and direction of international politics to craft a better world.”
(2) “…Medvedev inherited a foreign policy plate that was driving his country into isolationism and debilitating self-pity.”
(3) “In fits and starts in less than two years, he has managed to transform Russia’s international role from that of an estranged spoiler to that of a constructive problem-solver with a stake in a functional world order. Medvedev has gradually steered Russia away from the unilateralist initiatives taken by his predecessor.”
(4) “[He] has worked to make international institutions — from the United Nations to the nascent Group of 20 — stronger and more efficient. His more pragmatic position on Iran is likely to make global efforts to stop Tehran’s secretive nuclear program more effective.”
(5) “Medvedev commanded a successful war that was forced upon him. Like Obama in Afghanistan, he did not go wobbly in Georgia and proved his resolve to defend Russia’s interests and citizens. Medvedev’s toughest foreign policy decision has been to unilaterally recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia.”
(6) “Medvedev’s perseverance on this issue casts him as a world leader with a strong set of values. He does not crave popularity, just respect for his country.”
Wow… that’s definitely more impressive than Obama!
I do not want to give too much weight to what Vladimir Frolov says, but I think that it is important to at least read what he has to say. This week’s article actually takes what I said previously to a new level. I believe that Medvedev’s article “Russia, Ahead!” was actually an appeal for legitimacy to the West in the run-up to UNGA, and G20 last week. He wanted to be acknowledged as both a powerful player in Russian government, and a serious contender for 2012. However, as Frolov points out, it ended up backfiring on him mostly due to timing. Putin recognised what Medvedev was trying to do, and undermined him at Valdai by making what was essentially an announcement of his intent to run for President in 2012.
What I really have a problem with in this week’s article is Frolov’s patently false belief that these two men are in any way different from each other. Of course they are different people, and they have different backgrounds, etc. But their ideology (such as it is) is essentially the same, Great Russia.
What continues to bother me is who Frolov is being paid by. I think it is Big Brother (aka: Igor Sechin), but I am not entirely sure.
I would also like to draw your attention to Nikolai Petrov’s piece “The Virtual President”. Some quotes:
…the Kremlin is both nervous and uncertain. The Kremlin realizes that it must finally do something to correct the situation but is unable and unwilling to do so. This realization is a break from its former state of self-complacency.
Two factors are compounding the problem — the desire of the authorities to preserve their high popularity ratings at any cost, and the paralysis of government officials who cannot take action without approval from the top.
I am not sure that the Kremlin is both unable and unwilling to make the appropriate changes to deal with the crisis. They are definitely unwilling, but maybe what Petrov is trying to say is that it is too late to make any changes.
I thought that the conclusion was too great to pass up:
This is Russia’s latest risky experiment: the attempt to carry out Medvedev’s transition from a relatively unknown political figure to the country’s chief executive. Were it not for the crisis, the experiment might even be amusing. Under the current circumstances, however, it is a disaster waiting to happen.