Russia On My Mind: Losing It On Oil

posted 21 Oct 2012, 14:33 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 22 Oct 2012, 13:20 ]
21 October 2012

How can you tell a loser from a winner in Russian politics? Putin wants us to believe that he remains a winner, whatever the ballot box may or may not say. But there is at least one indication not in Putin’s favour. Since the dawn of the twentieth century a radical Russian nationalism has never been a winning ideology for a political leader in Russia. The Soviet leaders, if they sometimes manipulated Russian nationalism, despised it, and suppressed it. Boris Yeltsin, for all his attempts to build up patriotism for the new-born Russian Federation, was ever careful to stress the multi-ethnic character of the Russian state [Rossiya] as distinct from an ethnically defined 'Russian people' [Russky narod]. In the 1990s a radical Russian nationalism became the refuge of defeated politicians. Just as the failed coup plotters of 1991 subsequently took to publishing in the nationalist newspaper Zavtra, so too did Khasbulatov and Rutskoi after the failed 1993 coup. Putin’s turn to an ever more overt Russian nationalism is a sign not of success, but a clear indication of desperation. It marks him as a loser. [Read more]