The Four Stages of Putinism

In 1970, Soviet dissident Andrei Amalrik observed that “all totalitarian regimes grow old without realizing it.” The regime established since 2000 by Russian President Vladimir Putin could well fall this year for the same reason that the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

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.

In a mere 13 years, Putin’s regime, with its grand ideological style, has passed through all of the stages of Soviet history, becoming a vulgar parody of each.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

http://prosyn.org/AW6ydMt;

Handpicked to read next

  1. roach102_WallyMcNameeCORBISCorbisviaGettyImages_ReaganJapanpressconference Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

    Japan Then, China Now

    Stephen S. Roach

    Back in the 1980s, Japan was portrayed as the greatest economic threat to the United States, and allegations of intellectual property theft were only part of Americans' vilification. Thirty years later, Americans have made China the villain, when, just like three decades ago, they should be looking squarely in the mirror.

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.