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Faking Left

Published: August 12, 2005 (Issue # 1095)


It is already obvious that the second half of 2005 will unfold under the banner of bustling faux modernization. And we have only the Kremlins enemies to thank for this wide-ranging imitation.

If the Orange Revolution hadnt happened in Ukraine, the Kremlin would never have set up a way to pass on power to an anointed successor. It would never have set up the youth organization Nashi and would never have started talking about vertical social mobility or handing power over to the next generation. If Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych had won, the wise Kremlin specialists would have floated above an unseen political void, convinced that the main focal point of politics was tallying up the votes just right, the way Central Election Commission head Alexander Veshnyakov does, and that everything else ideas, leaders, strategies and parties was a big waste of time and money.

Now, under the influence of the unexpected popular protests against benefits reform this January, the electoral success of the left in many regions and even the political musings of former Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Kremlin has decided to make a swift move to the left. President Vladimir Putins rhetoric will likely change by early fall. He will talk about justice and the priorities of Russias 140 million citizens. A new crop of buffoonish organizations will be sown, and parties made irrelevant by their previous pointlessness will be thrown into the PR fray, from the Patriots of Russia to the social democrats.

The widely despised Social Development and Health Minister Mikhail Zurabov may fall victim to this leftward shift, along with one or two other federal officials who had long wanted to work in the private sector anyway. Finally and most importantly, the sacred inviolability of the stabilization fund will finally be destroyed. In general, the Kremlin will attempt to demonstrate that it is the countrys only real leftist.

The Putin administration might even try staging a pseudo-revolution in typical Kremlin fashion. For example, Zurabov could leave his post kicking and screaming, dragged out of the ministry after a three-day standoff with Nashis antifascist soccer hooligans.

Naturally, none of this will mean a real change in policy. The Putin regimes goals exclude any real changes, no matter how good, out of principle.

Many big-name Kremlinologists in Russia and elsewhere are tirelessly reproducing the myth that Putin heads a chekist regime of authoritarian modernization that wants to destroy all vestiges of Boris Yeltsins rule, as the few remaining liberals in power try to resist their bloodthirsty schemes. Until this myth is debunked, we will not be able to grasp the logic of Putins actions.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Oct. 2


The celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of Mikhail Lermontov continues with todays free exhibition in the citys Lermontov Library at 19 Liteiny Prospekt. Titled Under the Rustling Wings, the temporary exhibition will feature the costumes and scenery used in the 1917 production of Lermontovs play The Masquerade, which he wrote in 1835 when he was only 21 years old.



Friday, Oct. 3


Learn more about how to manage and evaluate employee performance during SPIBAs Human Resources Committee meeting this morning on Employee Assessment: Global and Local Trends. Starting at 9:30 a.m., the discussion will touch on such topics as the partnership between HR and business, reliable assessment strategies and more, with Tatiana Andrianova, the head of the SHL Russia and CIS branch in St. Petersburg, as the featured guest. Confirm your participation by Oct. 2 by emailing office@spiba.ru or calling 325 9091.


AmChams Procurement Committee Meeting is at 9 a.m. this morning in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.



Saturday, Oct. 4


Wine and cheese lovers will get their chance to revel during Scandinavia Country Club and Spas Wine Market Weekend. Going on today and tomorrow, wining diners can listen to live music, take part in culinary classes and, of course, sample a variety of fine wines from around the world. The cost of admission is 400 rubles ($10.30) for adults and 200 rubles ($5.15) for children.



Sunday, Oct. 5


Look for the latest fall fashions at the Autumn Market today in Freedom Anticafe at 7 Kazanskaya Ulitsa. The minimarket plans to offer clothes more flattering than the puffy jackets that are a staple of the citys cold-weather fashion, while offering the same amount of protection from the biting winds blowing off of the Baltic.



Monday, Oct. 6


SKA St. Petersburg, the citys KHL affiliate, welcomes Slovakian club HC Slovan in a match-up tonight at the Ice Palace near the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be purchased on the clubs website or in person at either the arenas box office or the clubs merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Oct. 7


Learn more about Russias energy industry at the St. Petersburg Energy Forum that begins today and runs through Oct. 10. Attracting industry experts and political and business representatives, the forum plans to welcome more than 350 plus companies and their representatives to discuss the future of Russias largest economic sector.



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