Ladies and Gentlemen,
12 years ago responsible politics in the world asked themselves – who is Mr. Putin.Today lots of them and mainly Russian citizens have to use a terms like “putinism” and more specific word glued from former KGB as “gebnya” people screwed and held free business in Russia. As a result life in many Russian cities is now more expensive than in the United States or Europe.
The reasons are well known: state monopolism, corruption and inefficient administration, a consequence of the implacability of power and its excessive centralization in the hands of a single executive “gebnya” valets including.
Many talented people are leaving the country. More than 2 million Russians have gone in just 10 years. The capital flight that started in 2008 stands at $350 billion and counting. Three million entrepreneurs have been subjected to criminal prosecution, and some of them, like Sergei Magnitsky and Vasily Aleksanyan, have died as a result of being in prison.
This is the reason why there is so little innovation in Russia, and why dependence on raw materials prices is rising while the overall growth rate is slowing.
The quality of education is dramatically decreasing, while industry is falling technologically further behind the West, and now even China.
Russia’s place in the world has likewise changed. Our country, having become richer as a result of the raw materials boom, has begun playing a more active role in the global arena: recall its recent diplomatic successes in the Middle East and the multitude of recent and upcoming global political forums, economic meetings and sporting events held here.
In a global survey by the Pew Research Center, a median of just 36% among publics in 38 nations express a favorable view of Russia, compared with 39% who hold an unfavorable view, and 19% who do not offer an opinion.
By contrast, the same survey found the international image of the U.S. to be much more positive, with a median of 63% expressing a favorable view of America.
In only two countries surveyed do more than half give Russia positive marks: Greece (63% favorable) and South Korea (53%). Elsewhere, opinion of the continent-spanning nation is less favorable, with negative views especially pronounced in the Middle East, Western Europe and Far East neighbor, Japan.
These are among the key findings of a survey by the Pew Research Center conducted from March 2 to May 1, 2013 among 37,653 respondents in 39 countries, including Russia.1
The survey also finds that favorable opinion of Russia has slipped since 2007 in a number of Western countries, including the U.S. and Britain. But the biggest dip in opinion of Russia has occurred in Egypt and Jordan – key countries in the Middle East, a region in which Moscow has played an increasingly prominent role.
Unfavorable views of Russia are particularly widespread in the Middle East.
Clear majorities in Israel (77%), Jordan (70%), Turkey (66%), Egypt (64%) and the Palestinian territories (57%) hold a negative opinion of Russia. In Lebanon, 53% also view Russia unfavorably, although opinion varies by sect: 86% of Lebanese Sunni Muslims hold a negative opinion of Russia, compared with just 9% of Lebanese Shia Muslims. Among Lebanese Christians, 54% see Russia in an unfavorable light.
Russia’s image also suffers in many European countries. Half or more in France (64%), Italy (56%), Poland (54%), the Czech Republic (51%), and Spain (51%) have an unfavorable view of the former-Eastern Bloc leader. In Germany, too, a solid majority (60%) are negative toward Russia, although unfavorable opinion is more intense in the country’s west (63%) than east (50%).
Greece is the one country in Europe where warmer views of Russia prevail (63% favorable vs. 33% unfavorable).
In Asia, opinion of Russia varies. More than half in Japan (64%) and the Philippines (52%) have an unfavorable opinion of the Russian Federation, while views lean in the opposite direction in South Korea (53% favorable).
Elsewhere in the region, views are more closely divided, although pluralities of more than four-in-ten have a positive image of the Eurasian giant in China (49%), Malaysia (47%) and Indonesia (43%).
Opinion of Russia is also split in the U.S. (37% favorable vs. 43% unfavorable) and Canada (42% vs. 39%). To the south, most Brazilians view Russia negatively (52% unfavorable), while among other Latin American countries opinion of the former Cold War power is muted, with positive and negative views nearly evenly divided, and substantial numbers not offering an opinion.
In sub-Saharan Africa, only South Africans have a clearly negative image of Russia (53% unfavorable). Elsewhere in the region, views of Russia are either divided or lean in a favorable direction, although many do not have an opinion.
Compared with six years ago, Russia’s image has worsened among key Western countries, including Canada (a 10 percentage point decline in favorable views), Britain (-9), and the U.S. (-7). Over the same period, favorable opinion of Russia has also declined in Mexico (-10 points), Kenya (-10), Israel (-8), and Chile (-8).
But the most dramatic drop in Russia’s standing has occurred in Jordan (-23) and Egypt (-16), perhaps reflecting dissatisfaction with Russia’s involvement in Middle Eastern affairs.
Between 2007 and 2013, Russia’s image has significantly improved in only two countries: Indonesia (+7 percentage points) and Argentina (+7).
Unfortunately, the prestige has been erased by events like the imprisonment of the women from the band Pussy Riot, the recent, inappropriate arrest of Greenpeace ecologists and the ban on adoptions by Americans.
The reason for each of these events is the same: An irremovable and out-of-control central power is losing the ability to adapt to an ever-more-changing world. It is incapable of offering an attractive vision for the future, a paradigm that might inspire people to follow it. This is why all the money, all the global-outreach efforts, all the technical achievements have no effect. A frozen and stiff society offers no hope for the young.
This is nothing new. Fearfully withdrawing into one’s shell is the usual reaction of people who lack sufficient ability to adapt (or who are afraid to display such ability). The interests, and even the fears, of such sufferers certainly have to be taken into account, but following them can only lead into the abyss.
Today the system for running the country is called “Vladimir V. Putin.” Can he change? I don’t want to give a categorical answer: A human being is too complicated a creature for that. But the chances are slim, as are the chances that Mr. Putin’s inner circle would allow him to cede his presidential powers, even temporarily, a second time. He will not control what follows him.
Inside the country, the number of supporters for a democratic transformation of power beyond the Putin regime is decreasing, while radical moods are slowly but surely increasing — something that will inevitably give rise to just as radical a leader in a crisis. Put differently, no matter what Mr. Putin does, Russia runs the risk of seeing another authoritarian regime follow his.
Russian nationalists, meanwhile, cleverly exploit the fear and loathing that exists in neighbourhoods such as Biryulyovo. In the face of what they say is police apathy and ineffectiveness, they remind locals that there is safety in numbers. By arguing that crime is mainly related to undocumented migration, they present a seemingly easy solution: get rid of foreigners. In the absence of coherent and effective policies on migration, Russian nationalists have emerged as the people with a can-do image among poor ethnic Russians in particular.
The anger and resentment that is constantly bubbling just beneath the surface in places such as Biryulyovo then explodes as soon as the conditions are right.
In this atmosphere, it is the innocent migrants, who are just trying to go about their business, and people such as Shcherbakov, murdered by Azerbajdzhan migrant, who just wanted to protect his girlfriend, who are paying the price for the failure to get crime and violence under control.
When a regime that has unknowingly entered a stage of irreversible degeneration, and is highly reluctant to give its opponents the space for real political competition, the only hope for change lies in the success of a broad-based, peaceful protest movement.
Such a movement does exist in Russia, and its goal is to force the rational part of the ruling elite to negotiate over the direction and speed of necessary reforms. Not just to listen condescendingly, but to actually negotiate and undertake the agreed-upon actions.
Unfortunately, there is never such a thing as peaceful protest without victims. Today there are many, many political activists and sympathizers in jail or on their way. This includes not just the 27 activists arrested during a recent, enormous protest in Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square, but dozens of other lower-profile cases as well. And there will probably be many more of these if the regime continues to respond with force to the voices of independent opponents.
But the opposition will achieve victory if it can turn each case around and put the regime on trial. Society, especially the youth, is keenly aware of the difference between words and deeds. And unlike violent protest, peaceful protest cannot backfire and push frightened ordinary citizens and moderate political forces into the arms of the regime.
What should the opposition do if it achieves its goals? Above all it must remember that, once victory is achieved, it is very important not only to overcome the desire to seek revenge against yesterday’s persecutors, but also to give them an opportunity to participate in determining the country’s course.
Second, it must recognize the need to compromise in the struggle for change. Historical experience teaches us that society has been able to get itself out of a tailspin with minimal losses only in those places where reformers found the strength and courage to reach a consensus with their opponents. The opposition must be influential! Without this there can be no democracy!
The movement must take inspiration from Nelson Mandela of South Africa, who was able to rise above personal grievances and racial and class prejudices to lead his society along a difficult road from civil war to social peace. Mr. Mandela’s genius lies in the fact that when he came out of jail, instead of shutting the door in the face of his jailers, he left it open, so they could come out together with him.
Vengeance cannot be recognized as a worthy and socially significant objective. Only the achievement of a national consensus will give Russia a chance at survival. But this consensus has to be achieved on a foundation of respect for the rights of each person and of each minority in that society. It is imperative to acknowledge the principles of a law-based state and an aspiration for social justice.
Russia has things it can offer the world. We are not Asia, and not even Eurasia, but an inseparable part of Europe. The same Europe that not only created today’s civilization, but also continues to be the world’s leading political laboratory for testing new social and ethical approaches, which are then adapted and implemented around the world.
But Europe faces a multipronged crisis: Its rate of scientific and technical progress is insufficient to ensure economic support for the higher-than-anticipated increase in the cost of the social welfare state, while European society has overestimated its ability to integrate diverse populations. And the idea of a postindustrial economy has been interpreted to mean the rejection of all industry, and not the creation of new types of industry.
This crisis has adversely affected the course of the European integration process, which itself represents a huge sociocultural experiment.
But a crisis — even a multifaceted one like this — by no means signifies a collapse. Today’s European crisis is a challenge, but also a powerful impetus for change. The contours of such changes can already be seen, though a long and complex road lies ahead.
Thanks to a cultural and historical affinity and territorial proximity, Russia is capable of being a part of this solution, by lending its experience at handling a gigantic territory and diverse economic and cultural patterns. Russia and Europe need to find ways to work together, much more closely than ever before.
Yes, such a change would require a serious new effort from the Euro-Atlantic civilization. First in terms of personnel, and second in terms of technology and innovation. We would be talking about hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs and specialists, about a gigantic splash of energy from a new generation of Europeans onto huge, and thus far poorly developed, expanses, about joint work, about a new Europe — from the Atlantic all the way to the Pacific.
For our people — the Russian people — this would become a real opportunity to overcome a situation that has existed since the 17th century, and to bridge the gap that has formed between the limited number of Russians who have a notion of modern Europe and live by its standards, and the rest of the country’s population, the many millions whose dream of a better life has been unscrupulously exploited for centuries by politicians who continue to preach a nonexistent “special way” for Russia that only leads people deeper into misery.
Today, against the background of ongoing migrations into Europe and ongoing change in Asia, the split between Europe and Russia is a gap that can lead to extremely unfavorable consequences. The disastrous project of stagnation needs an ambitious European alternative.
Change or be destroyed: This has been the historical choice for any human civilization for thousands of years.
Thank you !
Политический спичрайтинг концепт