--- tfast <tfast at yorku.ca> wrote:
> I read Chris as saying that although Putin has
> weakened the rule of law when
> it comes to political opposition he nonetheless has
> increased the rule of
> law when it comes to most other forms of interaction
> with the Russian state.
> Further I read Chris as saying that this was the
> basis of Putin's support.
> If such, then consent has been achieved not through
> subjugation but through
> a relative liberation from both official and
> unofficial thuggery in the
> conduct of ones daily affairs Note I can neither
> confirm or deny this as I
> do not have the information. However, it does seem
> that answering this
> question is warranted before moving up the ladder of
> abstraction to "happy
> slaves." We first need to establish that we are, or
> are not, dealing with
For the record, I did not call Putin a typical Russian strongman (not sure exactly what that would be), Andie did, and I agreed with him tongue in cheek, though I guess the emoticon did not transmit the desired effect. If by "strongman" you mean "effective president," sure. :)
See, Andie does not need to ask people in Izhevsk or Irkutsk what is oppressing them or what their lives are actually like. He already "knows," because Perry Anderson told him so, and it sounds right.
I'll tell you what would happen if Andie were to go down to some place like Yaroslavl or Lake Baikal, waving around his copy of Perry Anderson (or Gulliver's Travels, or some other work of fantastic travel fiction), given that he was somehow magically given the ability to converse in Russian, or alternatively, around Baikal, the Buryat language, trying to open their eyes about how their true oppressor is the guy in the Kremlin with the 80% approval rating whom they view as defending their interests. At best, they would think him a know-nothing, self-righteous foreign jerk who does not have a clue about what is going on (sort of like Jeffrey Sachs). At worst, the would ascribe malevolent intent to him and wonder why he wants to destroy their country and make them suffer.
I really don't understand why Andie, who is a very smart guy, is so friggin' clueless here. He could very easily correct his understanding by simply getting a visa, hopping on a plane to Russia and walking around the place talking to people. In Moscow, he can have a $3.50 coffee at the "expensive chain" of Shokolodtnitsa with the Internet designers, university students, computer programmers, bohemian artists and the rest of the "compliant comprodor class." Then he can go visit the provinces and lecture them. :)
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