Not suspicious at all…

So while everyone was busy discussing the Panama Papers, it seems the Dear Leader President Putin has decided to consolidate several law enforcement organizations into one large “national guard.” Well okay, I shouldn’t get ahead of myself just yet. The presidential initiative has just been handed over to the Duma so there’s a chance that there might be heated debate and opposition:

Seriously though, the Kremlin has been saying some rather ominous things about this new force. Rather than sticking with a somewhat credible and more noble story about the need to protect against terrorism (very necessary these days), they’ve come right out and said that it would be involved in the suppression of unauthorized mass gatherings.

Yes, that’s right folks. Putin has superior approval ratings and the dwindling opposition consists of a handful of traitors and limp-wristed hipsters of the creative class, but at any moment that unpopular, marginalized group could suddenly rise up, turn into Nazis, and successfully overthrow the Russian government within a few weeks. Therefore, Putin needs this private army. By the way, can you believe how high is approval ratings are?! Russia loves Putin! But in case they don’t- private army. Oh yeah one more thing. Don’t go thinking the the president might not be entirely competent just because he apparently presides over a state which is so weak it could be overthrown at the drop of a hat by “degenerate” hipsters. Remember- private army!

This is all good fun, but in reality it shows that to some degree or another, the Kremlin is scared. There are things they, and in particular the FSO or Federal Guard Service, know and we don’t. If Peskov’s words were sincere and the national guard is about suppressing mass protests, it means they’re scared. If it is just another example of a trial balloon to intimidate the opposition, it still shows fear. Some dogs bark because they’re mean, but often they bark because they’re scared. Sooner or later, Russians are going to start calling the system’s bluff.

After everything that has happened since 2012, one would think that the Russian opposition would melt away. Almost totally frozen out of the media, extremely unpopular outside of Moscow with few exceptions, and with violent, in some cases fatal attacks against opposition figures, one would expect them to throw in the towel. But last February I saw that the cowardly intimidation campaign won’t work.

Putin, his circle, and the people who fervently support and maintain his rule are products of the 1990’s. They are largely rats, cowards who will go through any indignity to snatch some crumbs at the expense of their people. But what they failed to realize, for all their conceited delusions about knowing their own history, is that Russia may have its cowards but it also has people of unbelievable courage. This is the land that produced Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya and Viktor Leonov. People like them were a small minority, but their courage and endurance more than made good any deficiency.

The deluded pseudo-historians in the Kremlin camp love to invoke the supposedly legendary ability of Russians to endure any hardship for the sake of patriotism, but they are mistaken. They endure hardship, not humiliation, only insofar as the cause seems worthy. What humiliation or hardship could the Kremlin possibly inflict on dissenters at this point? They have slandered, harassed, tortured, and even killed- what more can they possibly do that Russians haven’t suffered before, often to a greater degree?

Credible information about Putin’s personal attitudes suggest that he sees Nikolai II and Gorbachev as weak, and that he believes he must be stronger than them. He also believes that the state is inherently legitimate regardless of its actions or the consent of the people. Given his support unwavering support of Yanukovych and more alarming, that he has for Assad, it’s clear that if threatened Putin will have no qualms about ordering his new private army to gun down Russian citizens in droves.

In that case, the price for Russia’s freedom will be high, but history tells us that there are Russians who will gladly pay it. While I fear and loathe the suffering that will inevitably follow this regime’s fall, there’s one small consolation about the violent scenario- Putin will never get to enjoy that $2 billion his friend squirreled away.


5 thoughts on “Not suspicious at all…

  1. Anonymous Expat

    I think you may be overreacting a bit: it’s more of a reorganization than a new army per-se, I think, likely to give his former bodyguard chief a fancy general’s hat. It might also include Omon (reports weren’t clear, and I don’t care enough about Russia to pay attention), so it might indicate just more of the usual rather than planning to go all Bloody Sunday.

    (Actually on paper it’s a reorg pretty similar to the Ukrainian National Guard, ironically enough — heavily based on inherited-from-USSR institution of Interior Troops — with some other units shuffled around, and likely dubiously controlled units — Kadyrov’s men in Russia’s case, volunteers in Ukrainian — nominally included in chain of command. Of course, Ukraine had somewhat more obvious motivations).

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Well like I was saying, I think the “suppress unauthorized mass actions” was one of those warning dog whistles they drop from time to time.

      Theoretically consolidation could cut a lot of bureaucracy and make things more efficient, which will be very handy when it comes to fighting terror. But knowing how things usually work around here, and since it is crunch time when it comes to stealing anything that’s not nailed down, this probably isn’t going to play out too well.

  2. Tulip

    People can only withstand so much economic hardship before they look at the ruling class and their lifestyle and rebel against that ruling class, remember the Romanovs? Putin needs that national guard to provide personal protection, shoot people in the street who disagree with him, and to deal with his paranoid fear of the West. The biggest and most deep-seeded fear of Russia is being surrounded. With the US and NATO stationing troops in the Baltics and other Eastern European countries plus the Panama Papers, Putin is probably riddled with fear that he will loose his dictatorship on power, hence his ability to rob his own people, where it seems like Putin wants to control every aspect of life in Russia, just like the Communists. You just might be right, Putin’s end could be horrific.

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      The irony is that those US and other Western troops weren’t even there until a year after Putin went on his military venture. Even now they’re dragging. Poland and Baltic countries had called for more forces, but nobody cared.


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