The former adviser of the Tsar: «The insults to the West are pure rhetoric. Bipolarism is over, but the Kremlin knows that it is impossible to separate us from you “
«But let’s not talk about Medvedev, everyone knows how it is treated … ». And with an unequivocal gesture, he lets us understand what is the evil that afflicts the former president of Russia, author of the now famous sentence on hatred of the West. As whimsical as it is acute, Gleb Pavlovsky he enjoys the third time of a very intense life. Dissident persecuted by the USSR, pioneer of the Russian web, as well as personal advisor to Vladimir Putin from 1996 to 2011, “when I finally understood some things”, today one of the few critics of the Kremlin still on the square, tolerated by virtue of its past. “There is no strategy behind these constant hostile statements to the Westernized world. Rather, it is an attempt to fill an ideal void that has existed for almost ten years now, eliminating a liberal Westernism that our elites are still impregnated with ”.
To replace it with what?
“This is the real problem. A different narrative is absent at the moment, perhaps only some power groups have it. So we try to transform this peripheral drift into a mainstream story, behind which, however, nothing is hidden ».
How far does the Kremlin want to go?
“This is pure rhetoric, and as such it has no limits. You can exasperate it at will, and Medvedev is a good example of this, with his invectives as a small merchant in the bazaar. But it is unlikely that in this way he will be able to strengthen the positions of the anti-Westernists ».
Yesterday the speaker of the Upper House Valentina Matviyenko replied by arguing that Russia is not anti-Western. Is there a split at the top?
«When you talk about plots or plots, make the mistake of the taster. Transform your wishes into certainties, as when you exalt the escape of veterans of the past without more power, as happened with Anatoly Chubais and some other figure now without any importance. It is not so. We are witnessing a representation. Matviyenko raised a mild objection to Medvedev confirming his position in power. Because everyone in the Kremlin knows that it is impossible to reconvert a country that has looked to the West for 300 years ”.
Should not the statements on the creation of a new world order including a pole led by Russia and China also be taken seriously?
“This is another matter. Because by saying that bipolarism is over, Putin affirms an indisputable truth. The West supports the current system of world, economic and political institutions. But surely it can no longer claim a monopoly, it cannot support hegemony. Nor can the United States. A solution will have to be found in the next few years, even if no one knows yet what it will be ».
Will the war in Ukraine change anything?
“It is not war but peace that defines future scenarios. But unfortunately, both sides reiterate that they do not want to enter into any negotiations. I find it stupid. If Russia wants to achieve recognition that goes beyond territorial conquests, she has to win or lose it doesn’t matter. The new international positions are established only by talking with the counterparties, there is no other way “.
How will it end?
“Both in Ukraine that in Russia, unfortunately, the very idea of an agreement has been compromised. The collapse of the Minsk agreements destroyed the concept of diplomacy. Therefore, it will be difficult to achieve peace. Certainly Putin will not accept a result that is not explainable for the country’s population. And then, the worse the situation of the Ukrainians on the ground, the lower Moscow’s willingness to compromise ».
Can an autarchic Russia isolated from the West survive?
«The push of this utopia of autarchic Russia is the worst thing that Putin is doing to his people. Because it’s simply not possible. The Russian Federation is an ultra-globalized project, it will never be able to turn into a closed economy. Look what is happening. The sectors created to replace imports are also based on some import elements. In a regime of crisis, we will have to look for cross ways to replace that globalization of which Russia has been an important factor ».
When will the sanctions really be felt?
“They will hit hard from the end of this year. But it is necessary to understand, which many of our leaders fail to understand, what the Russian economy represents. Here, there is no economy in the Western sense of the word. There are horizontal networks of households that feed on the state economy. In the 1990s and early 2000s, a survival economy was created in which the elites and the population are divided. The latter only asks not to develop or progress, but to survive. As long as the elites guarantee it, they can do what they like. This is what Western observers struggle to understand ».
Is Putin’s power stable?
“He seems to be the only one in charge, but that’s a mistake. I used to be very proud of the fact that we managed to create the feeling that Putin ruled everything in the country. It was a necessary political theater, because the country was very nostalgic for true leadership, and had not been ruled for nearly ten years as Boris Yeltsin was not very well versed in that sense. Therefore, with the passage of time it has become clear that the “Putin decides everything” thesis is very convenient because it takes away the anxiety and obscures the vision of what is really going on. He decides many things. But it is clear that there are also forces now independent of the government, large corporations and banks, alternative centers of power. To answer his question, it is they who decide on Putin’s stability ».
And after him?
«The Putin phenomenon will not repeat itself. He was an exception born in desperate times like Russia in the late nineties. After that, a collective Putin will come, in the form of a collegial leadership, which will parcel out the power. He is not necessarily bad. Periods of this kind in our country have been few but fruitful, as it was with Khrushchev and Gorbachev. Because they are usually linked to a period of growth and renewal ».
Will the vertical of power survive Putin?
«The Russian Federation does not represent a formed, stable and rational system. Far from it. A long time ago, with Yeltsin, the Nation building process was abandoned. The idea of building a normal nation state, right or wrong, was too complicated and dangerous. And Putin certainly didn’t pick it up. He tried it during his first term, then realized he was taking too much risk. Hence some paradoxes. We are waging a war but we don’t have a full-fledged state system. We suffer the sanctions, and we do not have a quality, dynamic management of the economy. We do not even have a stable legislation, a construct of law, even if undemocratic and authoritarian ”.
Are you saying that Russia has no precise direction?
“In some ways it is. Power does not have rational bureaucratic criteria and when it goes wrong, as often happens, making mistakes and decisions, it abandons a project and casually passes on to another “.
And how is it held steady?
“By controlling the media. Our information society helps him a lot, because only with propaganda can you preserve the media image of an organized state. We do not have a state system worthy of respect, but the population accepts it anyway, because they follow the facts through television talk shows ».
How Much Are Putin’s Popularity Polls Worth?
“Little. Power would like them to be indicators of consensus. But it wouldn’t hold any in industrial quantities if such a consensus really existed. The Soviet power did not poll, they did not need it. It’s just a problem of addiction. People have no choice, they agree with what is shown with messages full of emotions, with this super emotional television, which almost blames those who do not get excited ».
Has it always been like this?
«Far from it. In the first decade of the new century, I was writing messages at the top to say that we had to present the news and our choices in a certain way. TV was very boring then. Then came Ukraine, which since 2014 has provided a real conflict, which could be shown, and so today’s propaganda was born, which acts on the Norman people and also on those who govern them, in an unstoppable process of self-conviction. When this model of power ends, and it certainly does, it will be very difficult to change people’s perception. For this there will be no abrupt changes of power. For this reason it will take decades to have a different Russia ».
June 10, 2022 (change June 10, 2022 | 23:27)
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The former adviser of the tsar: «Putin is no longer the only man in charge. Peace? Difficult to get there ”
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