>>> Wojtek Sokolowski <sokol at jhu.edu> 01/20/00 01:34PM >>>
At 11:11 AM 1/20/00 -0500, Chareles Brown wrote:
>CB: These parts of this post suggest a positive development. Breaking with
imperialism is an important thing for Russia to do to get itself out of its extreme economic crisis. Will RTS Index plunge discourage Americans and other capitalist centers from investing there ?
Charles, i think you put too much weight on the US role in Russia's problems. The US-ers did not do Russia in, the Russians did it themeselves. US advisors were merely "co-conspirators" invited by part of the Russia's elite - wihtout that invitation they would carry no weight whatsoever.
Wojtek, I agree with you. The U.S. is only an opportunistic infector in this case. But what now ? How does Russia get out of this mess they have made for themselves ? One good step is to lose their new "friends" at the IMF.
It is useful to portray the x-USSR political system as the Hobbesian "social contract" cum Leviathan of a sort, except that parties to the contract were not individual citizens but various power groups. The central government apparatus acted mainly as as a Leviathan that prevented those groups from being at each other's throats.
With the demise of the central system, "power was dropped onto the floor" as one Russian friend of mine used to say, and the local power groups scrambled to pick up pieces of it. In that intense competition, any resource was a valuable asset, including contact and assiatane from the West. Hence some groups saw it that inviting Western experts and advisors can help their agenda either by lending it legitimacy or by bringing in foreign resources, know-how, technology, expertise, money, etc. Despite their immense arrogance, western experts were mere puppets in the Russian power play, their influence was usually no greater than the sponsoring party intended it to be.
So it was NOT the "Harvard boys" who did Russia in, but Russia's own "boyars" - industrial managers, power brokers and elite intellectuals. It looks like Putin may want to put that element under control - I woul dnot be surprised if we saw a re-enactment of the 1930s Moscow trials. As the pro-western camp is loosing power (the pro-western "reformers" in the Duma are outraged by Putin's deal with the communists), western influence in Russia will decrease sharply.
PS. Post-communist Russia is probably the poster case of rule-by-conspiracy.
Charles: Yes, it is hard to see a clear "system" there now. It is sort of flying by the seat of their pants rule, anarchy of production and government all in one. Stop the world, we want to get off, they seem to be saying. Quite tragic.
I don't have an opinion differing from what you say about the westerners's influence as minimal , except from what you say, it seems that the western inputs of resources could be enough to be the marginal difference between the various noveau-power elitists battling it out.
You are going to kill me for using conspiracy theory, but I can't help but think that the CIA has had a field day for ten years with the big collapse of the SU's counterspy apparatus, and in the situation you descirbe, they could make the difference in some of the disputes. Sometimes I think Yeltsin may have been a "Manchurian Candidate" only a "Langley CIA Candidate". Who knows what else they put in his body at that heart surgery.
OK shoot me for conspiracy theory.