“The summit will be a fight over the last crumbs”
How long before “putinomics” and for a strengthening of the dictatorship? Interview With Andrei Movchan
The country continues to intensify the repressive spirit, as evidenced by the new criminal cases against participants of protest actions. At the same time, another of Vladimir Putin’s statement regarding the information on the Internet sounded as a signal to new limits. While Russia’s economy, though stagnant, but it is not going to fall for the next bottom. The mode has a large margin of safety. But where are we going? On this subject Znak.com talking in an interview with the economist, a financier, investor, managing partner of the group of companies Movchan’s Group, expert of the Economic policy program of the Carnegie Moscow center Andrei Movchan. Not so long ago, he published a book “Russia in the era of posttrade. Common sense against information noise”, which tried to diagnose the current era and to make a prediction about the future fate of Russia.
“Putin is the last “European” in Russia”
— Andrey Andreyevich, as I understand it, one of the Central ideas of the “Russia in the era of posttrade” current, archaic, feudal in essence, the Russian regime will not change, until you run out of rent resource supply — oil exports. That is, apparently, until the triumph of new technologies of generation and distribution of energy. When that happens, your idea?
— From your description I would remove the word “archaic”. Archaic is something that no longer works today, is not effective. And the Russian regime works fine. Maybe we have an archaic economy. But in this economy the current mode works great, at least for its beneficiaries.
Now, regarding the conditions for this regime ceased to be effective. This has got to stop enough economic opportunities afforded by export of hydrocarbons. But it may not necessarily happen because of the new types of energy. This may occur in connection with a change in the price situation on the market of hydrocarbons. It is not necessary that the oil will be less to consume. It, for example, can find more or start to get easier. It may be a situation when the price of oil will be much lower than it is now. This situation was already in 90-e years. Then certainly, there was no new energy. She was even much older than it is now. And the price of oil was on the world market is still low. So the fact that we don’t see serious progress from the standpoint of changes in the balance of old and new methods of producing energy, does not mean that we can’t see periods of much lower oil prices. Or even a stabilization of oil prices at a low level.
— What other reasons can dry out the oil resource of the Russian feudal lords, using the country as an “internal colony”? Due to a sharp decline in Russia? Aggravation of price competition in the markets? How close are we from such prospects?
The first is the depletion of prey or a sharp increase in the cost of production, it has to happen in 2030-ies. The second reason is poorly predictable. This increased competition and increased supply on the world market of hydrocarbons. And when it is, we don’t know, but this is clearly not in the coming years. Five to seven years we can view the oil market today, there are no triggers that would have forced him to become dramatically more competitive. There is also a domestic triggers. Today, the system is solid, it is designed so that the elite benefit from the current situation, act in concert. If for one reason or another, this consistency is a thing of the past and begin a violent conflict between elite groups, which can not be resolved quickly, there will be many different events that will affect oil exports.
“Today the system is monolithic, it is designed so that the elite benefit from the current situation, act in concert”Kremlin.ru
— In your book you list the events that can serve as catalysts for future inevitable crisis of the current economic and political system: the collapse of housing and communal infrastructure, the collapse of entire industries — for example, construction, logistics, etc., the loss of 5-10 million jobs. Do you see signs that these risks are already being implemented?
— The Russian government did not hide the fact that the last five to seven years, she built a model, designed for the stabilization of the situation. Without growth, with a soft slide of indicators, but without spikes and some kind of “black swans.” And the government did it.
She built a system in which a weak economy combined with strong budget and the state to pour money appearing gaps, thereby campfire problems.
And such an economy may continue to exist for a long time by the standards of life of the political regime, a decade of stock she still has.
— In the “Russia in the era of posttrade” you come back repeatedly to the vision of what to replace the Putin regime will come leftist populists, a La the eye, as in the Argentina of the 1940s or Venezuela 2000s. in Fact this is the main request of most of our society, which is characterized by dependency and faith in a miracle. And after left-wing populists like Hugo Chavez to power, the law of the pendulum, can come right dictatorship. Do you think that we will fail of Putinism, to stay more “lightweight”, a civilized version of political liberalism with a socially oriented economy and thus avoid dictatorship?
— Theoretically after Putin occupy the No. 1 position in the country could a man of liberal views, who was not afraid to gradually introduce them to life. This “second Gorbachev”. On the background of the first jump, which carried out the real Gorbachev, his successor could bring the case to the end and to make Russia a liberal country. But it’s all theory. But in practice, leaders chosen by the elite. In Russia, it is clearly constructed. She keeps to herself, or, as the brothers Strugatsky, “coiled”, she focuses on exploitation of internal colony, on resource rents, hence the conservatism, because you need to protect your share of the pie. This means that the role of the security forces large and it will only increase with the reduction of the pie. This means that in the end will decide the security forces, who and how will govern.
So, of course, Putin is the last “European” in Russia. Not in the sense that he is a carrier of a genuine European political culture, and the sense that came to replace him, the head of state, the European values are even more alien. And then the only question is the degree of denial of Europeanness, he will neuropace as the Asian Satrap or as a Latin American Caudillo. If it’s an Asian Satrap, it will be hard dictatorship and repression. Caudillo — left populist dictatorship. But both unpleasant for the economy and the liberal part of society. Most likely, following the ruling, the group will further protect the country from external influence. To replace the current soft repression repression will come more serious. In power there will be people who were not in the 90s, not grown from the liberalization of the economy, and came at once to divide and protect.
But all this is just fantasy. Nobody knows 100% the future. Russia has at least three scenarios: the left’s populist dictatorship, the Asian dictatorship and, possibly, liberalization, perestroika-2.
— If we are talking about scenarios dictatorship, so they bad and should they be very afraid? Pinochet, military President of South Korea 1960-90 years — classic examples of dictators. Nevertheless, thanks to them the whole world knows about the phenomena of the Chilean and Korean “economic miracle.” Maybe a dictatorship in Russia, oriented to the West — not the worst, and even the most effective way to economic breakthrough?
Is a fourth scenario — right dictatorship, open to the world and oriented to the developed countries. To happen, Russia needs much change mentally and stop being a resource country. And South Korea, and Singapore, their wealth was gained in international cooperation. South Korea was not a base to create their own wealth of internal resources.
Chile is the resource economy it produces copper and delivers it around the world. But Chile is not a large enough player, and therefore can not dictate in the international market its own terms. Chile doesn’t have nuclear weapons. Chile doesn’t have Imperial ambitions. If policy Chile seriously did not like the big players, then it would cease to buy the copper and the topic would be closed.
“Russia supplies the EU the bulk of its oil and gas. From Europe Russia gets the bulk of revenues,”Stefan Sauer / ZB / Global Look Press
Russia is in a completely different position, she on the one hand independent politically, and with another — is highly interdependent with the EU. Russia supplies the EU the bulk of its oil and gas. From Europe Russia gets the bulk of revenues. The situation suits both parties. So the Russian government makes no sense “to open” and go on about the global players to share the profits and space. It may well continue to prosper amid the impoverishment of the main mass of the country, without waiting for the arrival of foreign capital. Therefore, the probability of a Pro-Western or “international” right-wing dictatorship is equal to zero.
“In the country for 10-15 years may well form the basis for the emergence of totalitarianism ultraleft”
— Anxiety, you share in the book: post traumatic in our society, where, be a real elected government, we would have won conditional Stalin may be the acceptance of the totalitarian scenario, the weakening of the existing regime can occur the seizure of power by forces, ready to practice to implement methods of the “father of Nations”. You think a revenge of the supporters of the totalitarian practices of a real threat? Who do you mean when talking about revenge-seekers? Well, not about the Communist party you are talking about. And what else is in the country of numerous political force that cultivates nostalgia for the Soviet period and Stalinism?
— The Communist party today is absolutely not a totalitarian party, it is left-wing populists. The Communist party is much closer ideologically to regimes like Hugo Chavez than even the practices of Mao Zedong or Stalin. And in General, Polyana for today stripped from all potential rivals of the current President, including not expect that won the election would be conditional Stalinist or a group of people eager totalitarian revenge. But the Communist totalitarian regime type almost never occurs immediately after a center-right regimes. Often there is a transition “left” period, during which personal freedoms have not sureroute power, and the economy has significantly transformirovalsya for future totalitarianism. As we know, in Russia there are those who believe in Stalinism, left in the economy that support Imperial ambitions, as we saw in the Crimea. And if you come to power left-wing populists in the country for 10-15 years may well form the basis for the emergence of the ultraleft of totalitarianism.
— The most important task of the liberal opposition, you say, is to prevent new 1917, came to power, red-brown, to work with the government, elites and public opinion. However, whether it is capable of existing opposition — and from the perspective of the intelligent and energetic efforts, and from the point of view of influence on power, elites and public opinion? Regarding the latter: you say that the audience of independent media is no more than 10%. And it is rather those who make no longer necessary.
— Russia has no real opposition. In Russia, there are parties-puppets, which are called “parliamentary” opposition. This is controlled by the power of the organization that perform for it certain work, including providing the public the need for “democracy”, “elections” and “pluralism.” However, if the government is weakened, then these organizations may begin to play its own part. And because their present role is a populist opponent of the government, that this is the reason for the high probability of regime change on the left and populist.
Georgi Markov / Znak.com
As for the liberal-democratic opposition, its just not there. Instead, there are some marginal community (without a shadow of negative connotations, but the level of support for liberal ideas is very low) of several thousand people simmering in his lap and having no contact with society. There are also puppets, which are financed from the Kremlin. There are people who declare themselves liberal-democratic opposition, but their statements have little in common with liberalism and democracy. They left, often nationalist and sometimes even quite totalitarian. Their views are often hiding in the background of conversations about the fight against corruption and for freedom. But when they begin to ask the question, how looks the very freedom to which you aspire, it turns out that freedom for them is their dictatorship with a completely left-wing approaches to the structure of the country. Not surprisingly, these people are easy to cooperate with the Communist party. All together this suggests that such opposition is not a chance for liberalism.
Another thing is that there are some people who do, say and write the right things. This is Olga Romanov, Vyacheslav Inozemtsev, Sergey Guriev, Dmitry Gudkov, a few tens, possibly hundreds of those who combines a “small business” and a great educational work. They are trying to do something and on something to influence. If these people were not several dozen, but at least 5 thousand, then, without pretending to any position, without creating any power, not arranging meetings, could influence public opinion and power. And where such opinion leaders joins one or the other “Guild”, sometimes there are useful changes.
That’s bad (because it does not apply to social issues directly), but a very simple example: recently the government has expressed the idea of changing criteria for tax residency in the country. Were several people with the position “against”, they argued (including, I wrote an article on this subject). Said my opinion of the RSPP. And now, Siluanov said that such a change would be voluntary and not forced. A big impact on power? No, it’s a point, but still important. Do I believe that such influence on the government can be something to seriously change? Of course, you don’t. But in parallel with the effect on the power of such work to influence public opinion, the position of the elite. And this is very important.
It would be good to many people willing to go to rallies and even go to jail in the fight for freedom, stop indulging leftist leaders, becoming fuel in the stove of their popularity, and even part of the plan implemented for the provocateurs. It is time to begin to speak, to write, to communicate with other people, create meaning, clear to wide layers of the society and the elites — to do what the government does not prohibit and forbid the not, but what has a real influence on the minds. I’m sure these will bring better results than today’s street protest that was not supported by a sufficient number of the population.
“The idea that Facebook can change a society — utopia”
— Gorbachev’s perestroika ended in a fiasco: the totalitarian Soviet Empire collapsed, but instead grew more than liberal democracy and competitive economy, and the vertical of vestasonline, parasitic exploitation of natural resources. “Our condemnation of Gorbachev, Putin has created, condemnation of Putin can generate the Chimera even more terrible,” — I formulate you. As you consider what to do afterwards to prevent a similar failure of Perestroika-2? To conduct show trials, lustration? To impose strict constitutional limits that prevent the monopolization of power? And by the way, this is what I propose to do, those whom you call hidden left opposition.
— Firstly, I strongly disagree with the fact that Gorbachev’s perestroika failed. I think its phenomenal success. If you look at what was the country in 1979 and what it became in 2019, you will see incredible progress.
We lived in a country with closed borders, polysoprene religious activities, strict ideological pressure, the total deficit; in a country that is unable to make the toilet paper in the right quantity; the country in which people lived in planned poverty, a naturally starved or were forced to travel to the capital to buy the sausage (which is from the same toilet paper did); in a country where civil war has matured, but she was ready to wage war with the world and started the war in Afghanistan. Thanks to Gorbachev’s restructuring (and not Yeltsin period), we live in a country where people do not go hungry, except in marginal situations, they are free to travel abroad, say almost anything you want. I strongly object to hide the flaws of the current period, including his authoritarianism, the failure of the economy, corruption, aggressive foreign policy, but it must be admitted that the situation in the country is incomparably better than at the moment when the country took Gorbachev. It was Gorbachev who made a feat, and absolutely unselfishly, without making yourself any wealth.
“I strongly disagree with the fact that Gorbachev’s perestroika failed. I think its phenomenal success”Yuri Abramotchkin / Russian Look
Another thing is that there are no miracles, it is impossible, in particular, was to make the alteration from simultaneous lustration, the change of elites, the simultaneous building of efficient institutions. Paradoxical as it may sound, but there was no one to carry out the restructuring, except for those people who should be lustrated. That’s because its continuation was the way it was, and led to what resulted. Now in Russia the same situation. Declare officials, security officials and top managers of state corporations and that all of them lyustriruyut. And then try with all of them to agree on a bright future. Hence the question: how is our opposition that considers itself liberal (and actually is left) is going to come to power? I don’t understand it, and I am sure that they do not understand this. Active statements about the future lustration lead to the fact that the elite refuse to cooperate, and the middle class, frightened of such blatant propaganda repression, in the decisive moment you say: no, we do not need no change of power, and it will be even worse. I’m not surprised to learn that these screams are made on the instructions of the same power.
Effective, not destructive change of power in Russia (and not only) is possible only on the basis of a broad Pact, when the conventional “new bourgeoisie” will be able to agree with the old “feudal lords” that they will cede power in exchange for guarantees of some opportunities. The country will have the opportunity for development. No other way to regime change, unless you want chaos and war does not exist. But anyone who says that we need a civil war, I will call the big enemy of the people than the current government. Civil war is much worse than Putinism.
Whether, in your opinion, a guarantee against a return to authoritarianism and totalitarianism itself-reaching “technological revolution”, “industry 4.0”, the latest information, energy, industrial technologies, and creating horizontal communication?
The idea that Facebook can change the society — a utopia. Changes in society occur, irrespective of its technological security. The revolution of 1917 happened in the era of the underground distribution printed in the printing of leaflets, as in the revolutions of 1848 in Europe. Today, Facebook in Russia is absolutely not restricted, while reading it, God forbid 10% of the population and 90% of texts in it — cats, children, complaints of neighbors and mutual srach. Very few people pay attention to political posts in Facebook.
Andrew Mouchalagane Biyatov / RIA “Novosti”
Frightening the Russian government, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, is the author of several tens of thousands of people. And pornography online looking tens of millions. This ratio does not change the fact, block the power of some channels of information on the Internet or not. Do not put the cart before the horse (sorry for the involuntary pun and a reference to Telegram). Today, to change public consciousness (and the latest polls “Levada” shows that the consciousness of the society in Russia is the left-dependent, people are demanding change in the form of higher volume giveaways and egalitarianism) need not channels (they are in abundance), and a constant work potential opinion leaders, content creation.
I think that we need to quit talking on this subject, and to scare yourself and others.
All the talk about the closure of the Internet is just a way of cutting money.
How can officials earn and earn — to push the project on “closing the Internet”, so will push through, spend money, earn profit and certificates of appreciation. If Putin really believed that the Internet threatened the overthrow, he would have closed it, it is not too difficult — not technically, and legally: as no one comes to mind to close the Tverskaya street due to the fact that it can be rallies? No. Instead, for the participation in the rally started planting. The same thing they would have done to the Internet go to prohibited sites, go under the article. Not doing so is not necessary.
— You are talking only about information technology. But there are also other. For example, alternative energy, electric cars, all of this could threaten the Foundation of Putin’s regime — oil and gas?
— Electric cars while spending almost as much oil as a regular car, not through the tank and through the plant. Therefore, the electric vehicle while revoked as a way to reduce oil consumption. Of course, if there are any new electric cars, then perhaps this will be possible. But while it’s all a dream. We live here and now. On the reasonable horizon oil remains in demand worldwide. Moreover, in the world of the 7.7 billion people, only about a billion has reached relative saturation in the consumption. More than 6 billion people are rapidly trying (who’s successful, who isn’t) to catch up in terms of consumption leaders. And they will increase and boost demand for oil for many years (another thing is that the price of oil can fluctuate greatly — we’ve talked about this).
Changes in society, responsible institutions, General economic conditions, not technology. The worst dictatorship in the history of the twentieth century, Nazi Germany possessed the most developed technologies according to the standards of the time; the same can be said about Japan in the same period — the most severe militaristic power. In Cambodia a complete lack of technology did not prevent the establishment of power of the Khmer Rouge — the most successful organizers of the genocide of its population. A very high-tech United States as underdeveloped Norway in this period were democratic countries.
“Russia can wait even more hard scenario”Kremlin.ru
Probably “when the oil runs”, incomes will return to the figure of the early 1990s and come out to the streets millions of hungry protesters, the government, as then, will change. But this will not happen if some raw materials or technology, goods or services will replace oil as the main source of the rental income of the Russian “elite”. Is this possible?
— History knows hundreds of resource companies. Of them have three or four examples of a successful conversion. Resource Economics is a malignant model of the economy, which itself cannot be reformed. And even a successful conversion did not occur by themselves but in connection with external influence. Russia — a country that has nuclear weapons and a country that will not allow in relation to external impacts. If she will be able to convert at the expense of their own resources, it will be the first example of such a transformation. But I do not see any grounds for such expectations.
— That is Russian society expect food demonstrations?
— It’s too early to say. As will be arranged by the Russian society in the post-oil era, is unknown. But if the time and will not happen any revolutionary changes in our society, it is likely that we will have a likeness of the late 80-ies adjusted for the fact that these times will pass softer, as the country is still open, capital moves, the institutions of a modern economy even if rudimentary, inefficient, but present. At least not yet. But it is possible of course that Russia will close again. On the other hand, Russia can expect an even more hard scenario, because in the 80s there was a large Soviet industrial heritage, the bureaucracy had something to share and it was why the country “convert” — in fact, the Covenant of that time was the exchange of government assets. And in the future divide will have nothing, nothing new to us and failed to create. So, at the top will fight for the last crumbs.
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