Re: 'Spies Like Us' (Issue 625)
Referring to the editorial placed in issue no. 625 where it was opinioned that today Russia is the same capitalist country as the rest of developed world. I feel I have to raise some objections. As a person raised in Soviet times, I'd like to express my views on the topic. I regard the subject first of all as an issue of system of values and mentality.
Firstly, modern Russia is governed by a completely different set of values. It has never ever lived and experienced democracy. The word itself is colored negatively in the perception of average Russian citizen. Even the word citizen has been used in a different sense. The most common use of the word is in the notorious phrase "Citizen, come along" which is commonly used by police (militia) officers addressing some private person. It's been often used in Soviet movies.
As you know, Russian people overwhelmingly support Russian actions in Chechnya and recent invasion into Georgia. To no surprise, because almost each and every person misses the former Soviet empire, as Putin infamously stated in 2005 that the collapse of the SU has been the greatest tragedy for Russian people.
Although the state has been called the Russian Federation officially consisting of 21 national republics and 83 subjects in total, it is fiction because according to the Russian Constitution of 1993, the country is a presidential republic and secondly, all these subjects of the Russian state are totally dependent on the center, i.e. Moscow. The state system is a vertical pyramid with strong hierarchy. Even division of powers in the country is nominal. As one analyst observed, the Russian president has more power than the last Russian tsar.
Russia, for most of its history has been ruled by some kind of tsar, even today. If we look back to the last century all the leaders have been former heads of the secret service with few exceptions. Putin also was the head of Russian Federal Security Service. So it has always been like this: who has got the power, is right.
If you had read the Soviet Constitution you would have find that it gave the fullest guaranties of any human rights. They say that the laws in Russia are just on paper. I fully do agree, so there are no other standards but double or triple, if you like. If you'd lived in Russia for a while you could easily ascertain by yourselves. Surely, I would not wish you such a pleasure.
To make a long story short, as long as Russia continues to perceive the rest of world as something wrong and a battlefield of conflicting interests, and strives for hegemony, it as a successor of 'red fascism' will be the biggest constant threat to peace not only in Europe but in the whole world.