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The Four Stages of Putinism

MOSCOW – In 1970, Soviet dissident Andrei Amalrik observed in Will the Soviet Union Survive until 1984? that “all totalitarian regimes grow old without realizing it.” Amalrik was right, and the regime established since 2000 by Russian President Vladimir Putin is likely to fall apart – perhaps this year – for the same reason that the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

The Soviet Union’s collapse, it should be remembered, was not the result of Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev’s reformist “betrayal.” Nor was it caused by falling oil prices or US President Ronald Reagan’s military build-up. Soviet communism was doomed long before then, when, as Amalrik predicted, the communist myth finally died in the hearts and minds of ordinary people and officials alike.