Sunday, November 16, 2014

Window on Eurasia: Putin has Left Russians with No Options but Submission or Revolution, Eidman Says

Paul Goble


            Staunton, November 16 – By creating a dictatorship, Vladimir Putin has left Russians without any choice except submission, possibly with the appearance of a struggle against him, or a revolution, a reality that many who oppose the Kremlin leader have failed to understand, according to Igor Eidman.


            In a commentary on yesterday, Eidman says that “the pathological fear of a revolution” among Putin’s opponents not only works to the Kremlin leader’s advantage but shows how far they are from taking the kind of actions which will change things at any time before Putin’s death (


            And while the Moscow writer stresses that he isn’t calling anyone to arms, he says that there is no other way to change power in Russia except for a revolution, something that is “dangerous, difficult and possibly even tragic. But another variant simply doesn’t exist: Either preparation for a revolution or an imitation of struggle. No third way is possible.”


            Eidman begins by citing the observations of Russian writer Anatoly Rybakov that “it is impossible to deny the right of the people to a revolution. The overthrowing of tyranny, absolutism, and dictatorship justify revolution, for another, democratic alternative does not exist.”


            “Wherever the people does not have the chance to free itself from despotism by democratic means, it will achieve by revolutionary ones. If in the 1930s, the peoples of Germany, Italy and the USSR had dispensed with Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin by carrying our a revolution, we would have approved them,” Rybakov said.


            And he concluded: “Revolution is an evil if it is launched against democracy; it is a good thing, if it overthrows a tyranny.”


            Unfortunately, Eidman argues, many liberal Russians have adopted “the mantra” that there can be no more revolutions but only reforms. But “out of this pathological fear of revolution,” they have missed the only chance to overthrow the dictator who now rules their country.


            These opposition leaders have failed to see, he says, that “a dictatorship is different from a democracy in that it is impossible to chance those in power by democratically legitimate ways.  The participation of the opposition in electoral farces is useful only for the Putin regime” because it gives that regime “the appearance of legitimacy.”


            “Authoritarian regimes always seek to force those protesting against them to play by its rules,” Eidman continues. If the opposition submits to this, the dictatorship has nothing to fear.” And he suggests that this is exactly what has happened up to now in the case of Putin’s dictatorship in Russia.


            But it is not enough to try to provoke a revolutionary wave by actions that generate the kind of violent response by the regime that wins support for its opponents. In addition, he argues, those who oppose the regime must recognize that “a revolution cannot take place without a large ideal goal.”


            “In Ukraine European integration and membership in the EU became such a goal. But the Russian opposition still does not have its own ideal goal which could attract the population” of the country. “To get massive support, a protest movement must create an image of a better Russia in the future after its liberation from the Putin dictatorship.” That is the task today.

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