Monday, January 1, 2018

Putin’s Worldview Points to the Return of Stalinism but Without as Many Victims, Pavlova Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 31 – Many analysts are focusing on the Russian pseudo-election and suggesting that Russia is moving toward a Brezhnevite stagnation from which will spring a new perestroika or thaw, Irina Pavlova says; but Putin’s worldview points to a very different outcome –the construction of a harsh, authoritarian and anti-Western Brave New World.

            After struggling to come up with an ideology, Putin has now settled on one that equates anti-Stalinism, Russophobia and the rehabilitation with Nazism, a combination that means, the US-based Russian historian says, “only a real Stalinist and state-thinking individual can love Russia and be against Nazism” (

            Such a view, she continues, presupposes the rise of a reality “significantly harsher than today’s stability.” Instead, it suggests that Putin plans to take the country still further in the direction of “a Brave New World, a world anti-Western, aggressive, and directed toward victory” so as to recover the “great power greatness of Russia, the peak of which occurred under Stalin.”

            To be sure, Pavlova writes, “the present-day powers that be calculate that this time they will be able to achieve their ends without a significant number of victims,” and they plan to rely “not so much on their armed forces and nuclear weapons as on the weakness and unbalanced quality of the contemporary Western world.”

            The Putin leadership assumes that the weaknesses of the leaders of the West will force them to focus on their own problems rather than Russia’s actions and that Russia can exploit this approach for its own ends, intensifying the problems of the West by a clever combination of “provocations, diplomatic combinations and its ability to play on human weaknesses.”

            That makes for a more dangerous and unpredictable world, the historian of Stalinism says, especially if Western publics can be convinced that the Putin regime is evolving toward something different and that its weaknesses will not allow it to act on the cheap against their countries. 

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