The Color of Putin


Public consciousness always uses stereotypes. But it is always far worse when stereotypes take over the consciousness of a society’s elites. Such is the case regarding Russia nowadays.

Liberal Western and domestic circles commonly characterize Vladimir Putin’s government as increasingly authoritarian and ineffective. Inasmuch as illiberal – and especially personal – regimes are considered the least stable, the logical conclusion is that the “color revolution” scenario that we observed in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan is likely to repeat itself in Russia.

Of course, anything is possible in today’s Russia. But I think that there is more wishful thinking than hardheaded logic among those calling for a “color revolution.”

Consider, for example, that no one has ever developed a precise way to measure whether and to what extent a government is effective. If the criterion of effectiveness is the ability to achieve all of a society’s goals, we will probably never find such a thing. The United States, with a government that can hardly be described as weak, bungled the war in Iraq and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Compared to these failures, Vladimir Putin’s achievements in Chechnya look like the height of success.

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