Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 16, 2019

The Deep Nation Of Russia

In a newly published essay, a close aide to the Russian President Vladimir Putin describes the system of governance in Russia. It stands in contrast to the usual 'western' view of the 'autocratic' Russian state.

U.S. media often depict Russia as a top-down state, run at the whims of one man. They cite western paid scholars to support that position. One example is this column in Friday's Washington Post:

Why Russia no longer regrets its invasion of Afghanistan
Putin is reassessing history to make the case for adventures abroad.

On February 15 1989 the last soldiers of the Soviet army left Afghanistan. Later that year the Congress of People’s Deputies, the elected parliament of the USSR, passed a resolution that condemned the war:

Now, however, the Russian government is considering reversing this earlier verdict, with the Duma set to approve a resolution officially reevaluating the intervention as one that took place within the bounds of international law and in the interests of the U.S.S.R.

The authors ascribe the move to the Russian president and claim that he makes it to justify Russia's engagements in current wars:

The Kremlin is rewriting history to retrospectively justify intervention in countries such as Ukraine and Syria as it seeks to regain its status as a global power.
To avoid domestic opposition, [Moscow] cannot allow the public to perceive Syria through the prism of the Afghan experience. Putin and his allies have decided to tackle this problem head-on by reinterpreting that experience.
That is why perhaps Putin, and Russian lawmakers, are marking the poignant anniversary of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan by attempting to ascribe meaning to that long-lost meaningless war.

The columns is typical for the negative depiction of Russia, and its elected leader. Each and every move in the bowels of the Russian Federation is, without evidence, ascribed to its president and his always nefarious motives.

It is also completely wrong. The new resolution it muses about never came to a vote:

Most anticipated the Duma’s Afghan bill would re-appear for final consideration earlier this week, signed by Mr Putin in time for today’s anniversary. Unexpectedly, however, the bill disappeared from view at the last minute, with insiders citing a lack of agreement of a final draft.

On Friday [its author], Frants Klintsevich confirmed to The Independent that his initiative had failed to receive “necessary backing”. He says drafting problems were to blame, and that the bill had been sent back for amendments. It “might, or might not” be resurrected, he added: “We will continue to fight for it. I don’t know if we will be successful.”

The resolution, which the Washington Post authors claim is motivated by Putin's need to justify current interventions, was not pushed by Putin at all. It was the Kremlin that stopped it. How does that fit to the presumed motives they muse about?

The 'western' view of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the "long-lost meaningless war", is that it was the catastrophic for the Soviet Union and led to its demise (pdf). That view is wrong. The war was neither meaningless, nor lost.

The war was seen as strategically necessary to keep fundamentalist Islamists, financed by the United States, from penetrating the southern republics of the Soviet Union. When the Soviet army pulled out of Afghanistan it left a well equipped and capable Afghan army behind. The Afghan government was able to resist its U.S. financed enemies for three more years. It fell apart only after financial support from Russia ended.

In size and relative cost the Afghan war, and its domestic impact in the Soviet Union, was only a third of the size and impact of the U.S. war in Vietnam. The Vietnam war did not destroy the United States and the Soviet war in Afghanistan did not destroy the Soviet Union. The reasons for its demise were ideological inflexibility and a leadership crisis.

Those problems have now been solved.

Last Monday Vladislav Surkov, a close aid to Putin, published a fundamental essay about the nature of governance of Russia:

Putin’s Lasting State

The intentionally provocative essay is central to understand what motivates the new Russia and how and why it functions so well (when compared to earlier times).

Vladislav Surkov - bigger

“It only seems that we have a choice.” is its first sentence. The illusion of having a choice is only a trick of the western way of life and western democracy, writes Surkov. After the social and economic catastrophe of the 1990s, Russia became disinterested in such a system. In consequence:

Russia stopped collapsing, started to recover and returned to its natural and its only possible condition: that of a great and growing community of nations that gathers lands. It is not a humble role that world history has assigned to our country, and it does not allow us to exit the world stage or to remain silent among the community of nations; it does not promise us rest and it predetermines the difficult character of our governance.

Russia has found a new system of governance, says Surkov. But it is not yet up to its full capacity:

Putin’s large-scale political machine is only now revving up and getting ready for long, difficult and interesting work. Its engagement at full power is still far ahead, and many years from now Russia will still be the government of Putin, just as contemporary France still calls itself the Fifth Republic of de Gaulle, ...

He points out how Russia early on (see Putin's 2007 speech in Munich) warned of the dangers of the U.S. led globalization and liberalization that tries to do away with the nation state.

His description of the 'western' system of governance is to the point:

Nobody believes any more in the good intentions of public politicians. They are envied and are therefore considered corrupt, shrewd, or simply scoundrels. Popular political serials, such as “The Boss” and “The House of Cards,” paint correspondingly murky scenes of the establishment’s day-to-day.

A scoundrel must not be allowed to go too far for the simple reason that he is a scoundrel. But when all around you (we surmise) there are only scoundrels, one is forced to use scoundrels to restrain other scoundrels. As one pounds out a wedge using another wedge, one dislodges a scoundrel using another scoundrel… There is a wide choice of scoundrels and obfuscated rules designed to make their battles result in something like a tie. This is how a beneficial system of checks and balances comes about—a dynamic equilibrium of villainy, a balance of avarice, a harmony of swindles. But if someone forgets that this is just a game and starts to behave disharmoniously, the ever-vigilant deep state hurries to the rescue and an invisible hand drags the apostate down into the murky depths.

In contrast to the western system, Russia does not have a deep state. Its governance is out in the open, not necessarily pretty, but everyone can see it. There is no deep state in Russia, says Surkov, there is instead a deep nation:

With its gigantic mass the deep nation creates an insurmountable force of cultural gravitation which unites the nation and drags and pins down to earth (to the native land) the elite when it periodically attempts to soar above it in a cosmopolitan fashion.

Vladimir Putin is trusted with leading Russia's deep nation because he listens to it:

The ability to hear and to understand the nation, to see all the way through it, through its entire depth, and to act accordingly—that is the unique and most important virtue of Putin’s government. It is adequate for the needs of the people, it follows the same course with it, and this means that it is not subject to destructive overloads from history’s countercurrents. This makes it effective and long-lasting.

This unique Russian system makes it superior:

The contemporary model of the Russian state starts with trust and relies on trust. This is its main distinction from the Western model, which cultivates mistrust and criticism. And this is the source of its power.

Surkov predicts that it will have a great future:

Our new state will have a long and glorious history in this new century. It will not break. It will act on its own, winning and retaining prize-winning spots in the highest league of geopolitical struggle. Sooner or later everyone will be forced to come to terms with this—including all those who currently demand that Russia “change its behavior.” Because it only seems as if they have a choice.

Putin will have signed off the essay before it was published. It is, like his Munich speech, a public challenge to the western ruling class. "Wake up," it says. "Don't rely on those dimwits who ascribe this or that superficial motive to us. This all goes much deeper."

The western Russia analysts will write heaps of bad articles about the Surkov essay. They will probably claim that it shows that Putin has  delusions of grandeur. I for one read it as a honest description of Russia's natural state.

We thankfully do not have to rely on the 'experts'. Those who want to understand Russia can read the essay themselves.

Posted by b on February 16, 2019 at 11:32 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Surkov's article is a masterpiece, one that must be filed, he managed to to share and express the view on Russia from inside out, a rare essay, a must read to anyone. There should be no doubt in anyone's mind who is the adult in the room and who will prevail in the 21st century.
Thank you Bernhard for putting extra light on this powerful article.

Posted by: Canthama | Feb 16 2019 12:09 utc | 1

oh dear, starting a post with a quote from the Washington Post nearly made me go looking for somewhere else but I figured I should be more patient. Thanks again b for an interesting look at Russia, it sure beats reading anything about the USA or their euro mates just now.

I found Craigsummers, he is over at the intercept vomiting his mess all over the place. It has become slick, highly referenced team these days with deeper research and more quotes and still looks and smells like sh!t. Incessent drivel is flowing all over the plzce. The intercept deserves it.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 16 2019 12:11 utc | 2

I have to admit I'm pretty dubious about the notion that Russia doesn't have a Deep State of its own. My understanding is that the USSR ended without any real bloodshed because the Russian military and Deep State (basically the KGB) told the Communist Party, "You can go home now. We don't need your dysfunctional, nation-wrecking ideology anymore."

Posted by: Mister Roboto | Feb 16 2019 12:50 utc | 3

I've been reviewing a 6-part doco about Philosophy, Alain de Botton's the Consolations of Philosophy which reminded me of a quip about Socrates' teachings regarding unexamined lives, which led me to Wiki and (the late) Christopher Hiitchens, whom I'd thought was the quipper.
I didn't find evidence that Hitchens was the quipper but I did find "Hitchins' Razor" which, apart from being short and sweet, is germane to the New Bullshit Century and Full Spectrum Dumbinence.

"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed w/o evidence."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 16 2019 13:08 utc | 4

The essay is basically saying that Russia's government pays more attention o it's public, is more truly democratic than the US. China can make the same claim with good reasons. These are ultimate heresies to the phony image the US holds of itself. We are actually the autocratic dystopia we try to accuse these competitors of being.

Posted by: mike k | Feb 16 2019 13:10 utc | 5

@3 Mister Roboto,

If I were betting, I'd put my money on that there was a lack of bloodshed because there were no rents to be paid, so no whiny toll-booth collectors could turn off the machinery of society or lock out people showing up to the steam works to keep the heat running. Your understanding seems a bit arrogant and tendentious, imo.

Posted by: Jonathan | Feb 16 2019 13:12 utc | 6

Could someone help me here? Reading this: "...that of a great and growing community of nations that gathers lands." I get stuck understanding what gathering lands might mean in this context. Much appreciate any insights you could offer.

Posted by: Ellis | Feb 16 2019 13:18 utc | 7

Thank you b.

Posted by: mourning dove | Feb 16 2019 13:33 utc | 8

The article by Surkov highlights the major difference between the Western "deep state" projects and the "Putin era" that is coming as he says. Well worth a read.
I would put forward that it is also an antidote to the "anti-Russia, anti-Venezuela" spread by the MSM for the Deep State, as a viable but dangerous alternative.
Both Venezuela, Russia and many of the countries that have now been "regime-changed" have or had as their base a "communal support" system. Starting with family units, and then "neighbourhood", tribal, (or Commune,) and then to larger religious, political, military, and national groupings. Finally becoming "the nation-State" itself. Whereas the DS model is based on a single elitist group (the state only) giving orders to deliberately disorganised and isolated consumer units. With no interlinked communities.

(This link from Alain de Benoist (french philosopher) will give you a better idea than I can - but it is fairly long - and I do not know the site - as I followed a link to the article. Make up your own minds about it).

The centre of the argument is that our western societies follow the dictates of a single organism giving orders to a "mass" where the "nation state", personal morality, or inter personal groupings are suppressed and anything else that would differentiate one person from another is allowed. ie You can be LGBT, gender variable, atheist, violent, drug addict or anything else you might want, but you are "free" (DS says so), but you must not be part of a collective social group except superficially.
Whereas Russia, Venezuela and others - admit that people will want to belong to social groupings by choice, and then by choosing responsibly (freely and individually?) will support other societal gatherings further up the chain. ie. People will interact with others of their group - of which they know the boundaries, and will expect other to treat them in the same way. THEN they will agree to support other groups. (eg. The family or neighbours support the village, then villagers in Venezuela support their militias, and the militias will support the military who they know personally, - thank you Chavez and Maduro,- rather than a US "special force" who they don't know whether they will shoot them or give them cookies)

It is clear that countries that base themselves on natural communities and mutual interest groups, are an existential threat to the organized anarchy and individualistic tendencies wanted in a Deep State controlled empire.

Example of DS: Brussels sees itself without nations, without christianity or other religions, where you can change sex, (or even have none - the french now are supposed to refer to parent 1 or 2), and anything is permitted. If anything is permitted then there are no laws, except orders given by the central command, and not obeying will be brutally repressed. (Gilet Jaunes, the deplorables, and any other *forgettables*)
The Deep State wants no competition, just obedience.

This is why - to return to Russia, it is more of a danger to the DS than China - which is just another "empire" state, where the "leaders" give orders and the rest obey.

Thanks to Karlof1 at @30 yesterday for links. I am pleased that b must have also read them. - Just one thing though, the Chinese link clearly shows the difference in attitudes. = YOU WILL.... and gives orders to the west (don't touch Taiwan, Uighurs or Tibet) and then bureaucratic babble worthy of the UN or Brussels. (We expect... you will....)

Posted by: stonebird | Feb 16 2019 13:33 utc | 9

Ellis @8
I take it to mean that other countries can join - if they also are separate entities. Ie. NOT part of a Top-down Deep state system.
It's a multi"national" system others can join as individual communities but NOT if they are controlled.

Putin wonders where EU sovereignty has gone (I do too), but until they regain independence there is no way they can join as free members of a multicultural system.

Posted by: stonebird | Feb 16 2019 13:42 utc | 10

Ellis, we might have a translation problem there from the text. Maybe what is meant is that the community of nations grows beyond the borders of any one state.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Feb 16 2019 13:46 utc | 11

The notion Americans ever conceived of globalization as anything but the world copying America is absurd. The notion cosmopolitan trendiness ever prevailed is nonsense. Surkov manages to contradict himself on this, but neglects to notice the importance of losing wars to the disenchantment.

Since Surkov's (and presumably Putin's) program is for a world of sovereign nations fighting wars, the impossibility of winning should be a real problem for his daydreams.

The notion of a "deep state" was, is and always will be an attempt to imagine the limitations of democracy which insists democracy means the classes must be reproduced generation after generation without change are due to a conspiracy. And some hero can be expected to break the conspiracy, replacing it with a fair contract, openly agreed upon. The old, never successful program of trust-busting, so to speak, as the key to a healthy society.

Surkov' revision of "Lenin" government as another stage in the rise of the Third Rome manages to miss how Lenin's government signed Brest-Litovsk. Similarly, his notion that "businessmen" unfairly ruled Russia only in the Nineties is flagrant BS. Putin is merely the sober version of Yeltsin. His Russia is about organizing the grand thefts of public property under Yeltsin. He is Yeltsin's heir, never Yeltsin's opponent.

Surkov's insistence on an illusory unity in the Russian conquest of the world means he's touting the Third Rome. He may be too cunning to use the phrase, but the program is both mentally defective and morally degenerate. But, unlike Yeltsin, without the excuse of a pickled brain.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Feb 16 2019 13:55 utc | 12

This is a "big picture" article short on detail. Putin will go down as one of the great leaders of Russian (and world) history. Fine. What comes after him? What is the plan to transfer power to a subsequent COMPETENT leader? It is fine to trust Putin, power flowing from Putin outward, but what if it was instead another Gorbachov? What then?

Posted by: The Scalpel | Feb 16 2019 14:00 utc | 13

@uncle tungsten: While i understand the reflex, we HAVE TO FORCE US to see both sides. Only then we can truly see the whole picture, and have a chance to act. Like it or not, but as long as MSM is still dominating the large majority of public perception, we will have to deal with them. And that means not to lock us inside our own filter bubble, but to watch and analyse our opponents.
But i know, it is hard. Its frustrating and even (to me) physically sickening. But there is no other way.

To B: I do share this view of Putins Russia for years; But those "checks and balances" between "scoundrels" does not work in 2 occasions/topics: Neo-Liberal economy and Israel. Those 2 topics have both now a heavy unbalance.. Those are the 2 only topics, where a true internal opposition is forming. See pension reform (Where putin tries to distance himself now and put the blame soley on Medvedev), and the conflict between Stavka (e.g. Sergey Shoygu) and Putin over S300+Israeli downing of the russian AWACS plane..

Other than those 2 points, i think the analysis is correct. And my Russian friends do share that view too (While also complaining about those 2 points i mentioned above, Israel and neoliberal economics..).

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPropaganda | Feb 16 2019 14:08 utc | 14

@ Mister Roboto | Feb 16, 2019 7:50:25 AM | 3

On the contrary: evidence shows us the military was the last resistance against the desintegration of the USSR. The thing here is that it didn't need to desintegrate to reform.

The main problem with the USSR is that it created a system where any reform could only be radical. It wasn't a question of "ideological rigidity": the Soviets knew their problems since at least the 1950s (and, even before that, when Lenin was still alive, after the Kronstadt tragedy, an event that triggered the NEP - the reforms which would, 58 years later, inspire the new Chinese socialist model).

Posted by: vk | Feb 16 2019 14:16 utc | 15

One thing to add:
While Surkov writes that people in the west are losing faith in their politicians and now would be looking at Russia as a positive example of a political system:
The problem for the majority of people in the western country i live in (Germany) and IMHO for the most other so called western countrys is NOT that the demoocratic system itself would be the problem, but that this system has been corrupted by politicians, neoliberals, neocons, and anti democratic cancers like deep state elites and the like.
Here most people HATE e.g. the social democrats NOT because they are social democrats, but because the are now only social democrats by NAME ONLY.
The democratic system may be flawed, but it still is without any real alternative for the majority of non extremist people.
Scrapping that for toothless pseudo opposition like in Russia would not be in the interest for the majority of people.

This is IMHO a different story for every country. Russia IMHO needs to go its own way, and like Putin said himself, is not ready for a full democracy. It would lead directly back into the 90s, and the huge majority of Russians know that, and therefore vote for the much lesser "evil".
This may be hard to understand for a western person, but IMHO it is a sane and consious decision for the russians.

But again, every country is different. This is why the right for every people and country to develop in its own pace and values is to important, and why globalism is creating faliure for each and everyone exepct some rich SOBs.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPropaganda | Feb 16 2019 14:30 utc | 16

Ellis 8

Your answer is in the section you quoted. A "community of nations".

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 16 2019 14:33 utc | 17

Posted by: steven t johnson | Feb 16, 2019 8:55:02 AM | 16

Thanks for the Monty Python redux.
You wouldn't happen to be a 'lumberjack' by any chance, would you?

He cuts down trees, he skips and jumps.
He likes to press wild flowers.
He puts on women's clothing and hangs around in bars.


Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 16 2019 14:45 utc | 18

DontBelieveEitherPropaganda 22

The difference as I see it is that Russians get to vote for a leader or leadership that has their interests first and foremost. In the so called west, we vote for rulers that have other agendas.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 16 2019 15:07 utc | 19

I have said it before but...America is and has been for a long time now, the greatest threat to democracy in the world. At no time has the US worked to "make the world safe for democracy" quite the opposite.

The US makes the world safe for Cannibalistic Capitalism where a tiny percent of the population can prosper. The secondary agenda is what is called "demand destruction". Everyone has heard the statement, if everyone on earth lived like Americans we would need... I think we are up to 5 planets now. Well either we get 4 more planets or we make sure the other 95% of the planet doesn't catch up with us through everything from sanctions to bombing back to the stone age.

The argument for this is that if we don't do it someone else will which even most here buy into. Well its bullshit.

Posted by: Jef | Feb 16 2019 15:39 utc | 20

The 'western' view of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the "long-lost meaningless war", is that it was the catastrophic for the Soviet Union and led to its demise (pdf). That view is wrong. The war was neither meaningless, nor lost.

I think that is the "western" view that justifies throwing money at Nazis or terrorists in order to create problems for US enemies.

Posted by: Michael Droy | Feb 16 2019 15:51 utc | 21

@20 DontBelieveEitherPropaganda

I agree. The problem with all external analysis is that when looking from the outside a country you miss so much of the "cultural" activity that takes place on the ground in the back waters of each American state. When you read the mainstream media, you only get a glimpse, or maybe none at all in the case of the US, of the sense of what is happening on the ground.

The US is in a great upheaval, that is not reflected in it's media. IMO there is a consensus on the ground that everything is in a total mess and something must be done. If you look at the popularity of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, AOC, and her analysis of corruption in Congress, the fact that 80% of the population supports the Green New Deal, and a reactionary rise of the populist Right in the US. There is a common sense in the US that we are in deep Kaka.

Change in the US also occurs from the ground up, but it like other states will never be televised, because it will upset the powers that control the media.

Again a repeat of the poll "America’s Top Fears 2018 Chapman University Survey of American Fears".

Top Ten Fears of 2018 % Afraid or Very Afraid
1. Corrupt government officials 73.6
2. Pollution of oceans, rivers and lakes 61.6
3. Pollution of drinking water 60.7
4. Not having enough money for the future 57
5. People I love becoming seriously ill 56.5
6. People I love dying 56.4
7. Air pollution 55.1
8. Extinction of plant and animal species 54.1
9. Global warming and climate change 53.2
10. High medical bills 52.9

This will not be shown in the mainstream media, since it destroys the narrative that we are a divided nation. The people in power want us to be divided, but we share our common fears.

Finally, the primary problem that the US has a nation is that it is so far physically removed from the rest of the planet that no one really cares what is going on anywhere else, nor has any sensible understanding of what it means to be physically threatened by a neighboring state. As a result the Masters of War have a carte blanche over 70% of our tax dollars to waste on military spending that destroys the rest of the planet, but also provides one of our only "growth industries" here in the States.



Posted by: Michael | Feb 16 2019 16:06 utc | 22

The political organization of the Russian principalities in the pre-Mongol period was a combination of monarchical, aristocratic, and democratic government. The monarchical element was the prince, who however in ancient Russia was not an autocratic ruler.
His chief function was military. His primary duty was to defend the town from enemies outside. Another of his functions was judicial. He appointed local judges to try cases among his subjects. In major cases the prince himself functioned as chief justice.

The aristocratic element was represented by the council, composed of the high officers of the princely druzhina and other grandees commonly known as the boyars, a term of Bulgar origen. The prince's councelers met daily at his palace, and a plenary session was convoked whenever necessary, to discuss the most important government matters and introduce new legislation.

The democratic element of government was to be found in the city assembly known as the veche. This was not a representative body, but consisted of all the male adults in the population. Unanimity was required for any decision. In practice this requirement occasionally led to armed encounters between opposing groups in the veche, after which the defeated side would acquiesce in the decision of the victors. The veche of the capital of the principality had authority over the smaller towns.

A History of Russia


6. Political organization

George Vernadsky

Posted by: Guerrero | Feb 16 2019 16:08 utc | 23

Hoarsewhisperer @5:"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed w/o evidence."

Love it. Thanks Hoarse.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 16 2019 16:10 utc | 24


Scrapping that for toothless pseudo opposition like in Russia would not be in the interest for the majority of people.

Wait, aren't the Democrats the very personification of a "pseudo opposition"?

Posted by: nwwoods | Feb 16 2019 16:15 utc | 25

A close aid to Putin who works for Putin's govt pens a paean to Putin and Putin's government.

Get outta town! LMAO

"Nazi Germany the Most Efficient Deep State" penned by aide Rudolph Hess.

And don't miss the unforgettable classi "4th dimensional Chess Playin Man" penned by his aide Ivanka Trump?

Posted by: donkeytale | Feb 16 2019 16:18 utc | 26

stonebird @12
Bart Hansen @13
Peter AU 1 @21
...I appreciate your inputs.
Translations can introduce awkward phrases that others can misunderstand. The lack of Russian language skills in the West widens the risk of public manipulative propaganda.

Posted by: Ellis | Feb 16 2019 16:25 utc | 27

@Ellis "I get stuck understanding what gathering lands might mean in this context"

It would seem to refer to the traditional move to expand the sphere to what is believed by some in Russia to be their "natural" dimensions: to add by various means including annexation all the Russian territories, East Slavic lands, Belarus and the Ukrainian regions

See also

In that light the Russian view of the conflict in Ukraine has to be understood: not just as reaction towards to expansion of EU and NATO but more as reaction against the EU/NATO's interference with Ukraine's direction of moving closer to the Russian sphere over time, seen as something inevitable unless countered with lots of effort, promises and energizing of radical movements or other nationalistic or young, pro-West groups.

In other words, some claims that the Kremlin desires to expand are not wholly unjustified. But as explained in the article some Russian leaders might see expansion as unavoidable and therefore deep down rational to pursue. One can counter this view with the remark that it's almost like some echo of the Soviet (and pseudo-Marxist) view of historical materialism. Ending at the time with transporting intellectuals who differed, to re-education camps as one concluded that something wrong "had to be wrong" with them, opposing the inevitable and rational! Search for the term "psycho-pathological mechanisms of dissent" to see how it might reflect some of the elite thinking in Russia still today!

Posted by: John Dowser | Feb 16 2019 16:27 utc | 28

Surkov supports the 'Deep State' in Russia and elsewhere to the extent that he derides/undermines democratic process.

Surkov's viewpoint is aligned with that of the neocons. Neocons argue that democratic processes can not properly weigh matters that concern the 'Deep State'. Those that benefit from Deep State largess (MIC, intel agencies, oligarchs, and large corporations) naturally support that view.

The "Deep State" is ultimately class warfare. IMO the best that we can hope for (for now) is that 'Deep States' of the major powers will try to improve the lives of the ordinary people they govern as part of the State-to-State competition. A unilateral world order would have no such virtue. In such a world we would quickly feel the truth of: "We are all black, we are all Palestinian, we are all ... a plaything or a nuisance of the oligarchic in-group.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 16 2019 16:47 utc | 29

Love it. Thanks Hoarse.
Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 16, 2019 11:10:02 AM | 29

You're very welcome:-)
I always thought Hitchens was a waste of space until I stumbled upon Hitchens' Razor, yesterday. His dearest wish was to become Gore Vidal's successor, which I found laughable, and which Vidal thwarted by outlasting him by a few months. But Hitchens' Razor was a useful contribution to creative rhetoric...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 16 2019 17:14 utc | 30

There are a number of commenters here who, living up to their former ignorance on many topics, expose their lack of knowledge and understanding of things Russian.

Russia is a civilization. It's psyche is neither East nor West. It's vocabulary and syntax are not Western, either.

Surkov's work, even by ideologues of vast disparate differences is recognized as a political-literary work whose translation requires deft handling.
Think of de Tocqueville or some of Tom Paine.

And all Russian commenters at the highest level perceive exactly what his words and his construction means.

You might try reading Dmitri Orlov's translation.

You also, those of you who think you are more intelligent than Surkov, should want to read his article of last year. In that, he describes Russia's unique path forward. Use Yandex for a translation.

You will see the linkage from last year's article and this year's work. Surkov is a gifted "grey cardinal" whose intellect is valued by Putin.
When he speaks, and especially, when he writes, Sukov has the top echelon of Russia paying "deep attention".

If you fall for the word usage of Deep in this present work and equate it with our Western Deep State, you do not comprehend the Russian context.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Feb 16 2019 17:26 utc | 31

>The Deep State wants no competition, just obedience.
>Posted by: stonebird | Feb 16, 2019 8:33:39 AM | 10

This. This is the central organizing principle of Uncle Sam Land. Every interaction with the police and other state actors says: "Obey or Die". And they mean it, a thousand dead civilians a year. Every year.

Its not only black and brown people. I live in the whitest part of the whitest US state. It is rural, remote, and sparsely populated. White skin did not save my neighbor's brother who was gunned down in his own home. What really happened? Only the cops know, and they ain't sayin.

My conclusion is that the US police state is the inevitable result of imposing a top-down hierarchy on society. This is why skin color, clothes, education, religion, sex, income, etc. are so important: these characteristics and others are used to put everyone in their proper slot in the hierarchy, and to make sure everyone knows their place, and stays there.

Uncle Sam Land is a downwardly-mobile society. The fear of downward mobility keeps people passive, afraid, and easier to control. The lack of labor strife is a good example. After decades of failure, workers understand that most strikes and other job actions will end with less pay and worse working conditions.

The psychopathic scum at the top like it there and intend to stay, regardless of the cost to the peons, who only exist to serve the state. Therefore everyone is disposable. None of this is new, of course, but Bull-in-the-China-Shop Trump has done an excellent job of unintentionally shredding the facade of "freedom". It is now getting difficult even for establishment elites to ignore the nature of the machine they are dedicated to sustaining.

The Dear Leaders will not take a hint and step down, or work to create a more humane society where just being alive is good enough reason to get access to the Earth's bounty. Instead they will use even more violence to impose obedience. A near-monopoly on violence is what makes a nation-state, so violence is the only tactic it knows.

Can Russian really be a nation-state that is not based on hierarchy, violence and coercion? I'd like to think it could be possible, but I remain very, very skeptical.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Feb 16 2019 17:38 utc | 32

This is one of the few times I strongly disagree with (the brilliant political commentator) Moon of Alabama. A better perspective can be found here:

And here is an excerpt:

I find that in the article of Surkov the main message is sincere and reflects the will of the current elites to self-preservation and to preserve the regime in an unchanged state and in the post-Putin period. So that Putin himself does not decide to change something by chance, he is reassured: everything is perfect. But sincerity does not mean truth. The solipsism of the ruling elite still cannot replace history and political logic. Therefore, Surkov’s analysis of the state of the political regime in modern Russia is entirely and completely false in its very foundations.

Posted by: Fiona Jenkins | Feb 16 2019 18:01 utc | 33

I was listening to a podcast and one speaker asserted that Venezuelans would be grateful for their improved living conditions and remain loyal to Maduro, and the other speaker said that people tend to take their improvements for granted and demand more.
As I understand it, that is what happened in the USSR. The recovery of housing and food after the destruction of WW2 was completed by the 80s, and then people wanted more. The leaders started increasing meat production, leading to buying grain from the US, and then the US bribed top KGB officials and bureaucrats, and then Yeltsin and the bribed leaders of Ukraine and Belarus signed away the USSR, against the wishes of the vast majority of the population.

Only brainwashed westerners would announce that that the destruction of the Soviet Union was "bloodless". That ignores the bombing of the White House, the murders of opposition leaders and the mass dieoff of millions of people, referred to in the West as "life expectancy dropped dramatically" (because the west is the undisputed king of spin and propaganda).

The population of Russia is only now recovering to their 1990 level, but let us blather on and on about how wonderful the destruction of the USSR was.

It wasn't so great for the rest of the world, either. Our gloating leader, George H. W. Bush, flush with delight and greed, as Russia lay prostrate and ready for plundering, in 1991, announced "There is now a New World Order", meaning that the USA would rule the world. We can all see what that means for the rest of the world, and for the population of the US, now also stripped and looted, increasingly in the last 26 years. The US went on a worldwide killing spree, while at home, with no USSR as a good example, or to support rational left politics, we have lost our unions, our jobs, our houses and our damn common sense. Now they are telling us that men can be women and vice versa, in the final Big Brother control of reality and perception. War is Peace, check. Ignorance is Strength, check. It is possible to change your biological body with the power of your mind, check.
They have turned us into blithering idiots, fit only to bicker as the final looting commences.

Posted by: wagelaborer | Feb 16 2019 18:03 utc | 34

Further to @37 Trailer Trash, who is absolutely correct in his assessment of "The Dear Leaders", when I blogged quite a few years ago (which turned out to be a great tool for the maturation of my political awareness), I often posted about the motivations of those in power, referring to the novels of the Marquis de Sade: Sade very much understood the mentality and motivations of those in power.

My apologies for posting a link to my defunct blog (this post was from 2005, inspired from BushCo's handling of Katrina, so it's quite dated, but the themes are as relevant as ever), but I do so only to further elaborate on Trailer Trash's insight. (I no longer blog, and seldom post comments anymore, so this isn't done for my own gratification.)

Here's a quote from the post, which ends with a long excerpt from Sade's novel Juliette, which some might find an insightful and astonishing read from the late 18 century.

Simply put, the suffering of others is pleasurable: it increases the sense of one's power. After all, what's the point of power if you can't wield it arbitrarily, committing heinous crimes with impunity:
  • imprisoning people permanently, for no reason, and without legal recourse — even denying them the ability to take their own lives
  • contravening international laws, including the Geneva Convention
  • outrageously lying about things even in the face of incontrovertible evidence to the contrary
  • openly stealing from the public
  • starting wars based on outright lies
  • stealing elections
  • etc etc etc...

They love lying (it's even "noble" for them), inciting fear, smacking down those who get in their way. And let's not forget torturing and killing innocents, wiping out entire villages, taking over countries.

Generally, making others suffer increases their sense of power; witnessing misery gives them wood, existential or otherwise. The lower the Other sinks, the higher they rise. That's why the natural reaction to thousands of poor darkies suffering from the devastation of Katrina is to play a guitar at a fundraiser and shop for shoes.

More at The Searing Light of Freedom and The Production Of Wood (scroll down since links to individual posts no longer work with blogspot it seems...)

While I'm here, let me just add my profound thanks to b and so many of the brilliant and insightful commenters here, especially karloff1, psychohistorian, grieved, and quite a few others, who truly get what's going on, and for the general high-level of intelligent and civil discussion found here.

Posted by: Lohmann | Feb 16 2019 18:10 utc | 35

Re. Surkov piece.

Any message that praises Russia and goes against demonising + slandering it is welcome to me. If it can prod some to re-think, I'm all for it.

The text is superficial, a straightforward ‘bash others’ and Laud the True Nation essay, close to school-boy-ish, grade 12.

The ability to hear and to understand the nation, to see all the way through it, through its entire depth, and to act accordingly—that is the unique and most important virtue of Putin’s government.

Is v. similar to the USA’s mealy mouthed enshrining of demo-crassy, freee-dom and equality, etc. Putin may be doing a good job, is imho, but seeing into the entire depth etc. is hyperbole, .. OK, cultural standards differ.

It is adequate for the needs of the people, it follows the same course with it, and this means that it is not subject to destructive overloads from history’s countercurrents. This makes it effective and long-lasting.

Many Kings Queens Despots Tyrants touted the same. Meaningless.

The various branches of government come together at the person of the leader and are considered valuable not in and of themselves but only to the extent to which they provide a connection with him. Aside from them, and acting around formal structures and elite groups, operate informal methods of communication.

Translation may be poor, styles of writing vary greatly in diff. cultures, etc. But what does it mean? Note the ‘person of the leader’…

Our state is not split up into deep and external; it is built as a whole, with all of its parts and its manifestations facing out.

Should be queried.

Missing is anything of substance, ex. method of Gvmt. of a large Federation (geographical, climate, cultural, variations..), which would be interesting to know about, put forward, for praise. E.g. health care, housing, transport, education - Relations with China, for ex.

Yes! I get it, that was not the point.

Puff Pieces don’t address such practical matters.

Why is this article praised on MoA? One might write something very similar about Trump, Macron, Erdogan or Italy, etc.

Posted by: Noirette | Feb 16 2019 18:28 utc | 36

thanks b - for drawing my attention to this article...

i want to highlight 2 of the posts in this thread i found most relevant, and potentially conversational..
@20 dbep's post and @39 fiona jenkins post...

heraclitus quote - you can't step into the same river twice....

james quote - people can dream.. it's healthy to be idealistic with idealism especially found in the young.. russia has experienced a complete breakdown and rebirth from 1990 onward.. it is presently very young and this article is very idealistic.. on the other hand, the so called democracies of the west are getting very long in the tooth and not very much in the way of idealism is to be had by the people for obvious reasons... the politicians represent something other then the front they put on - democracy.. in fact, the quote from the surkov article i liked the best was this "but today everything in it seems self-evident: nobody is happy with America, including the Americans themselves." this would be true for many in the western countries..

i encourage others to read the alternative viewpoint from @39 fiona jenkins article..

@29 donkeytale.. this is one time i am mostly in agreement with you!!

Posted by: james | Feb 16 2019 18:34 utc | 37

A few randomish thoughts: As I've noted previously, not as a result of science on my part but of impression, leading candidates for the title of Most Demonized Leader over the last century have been Hitler, Trump and Putin. Now leaving aside any further analysis of the failings and virtues of the former pair, let us merely note that what the three have in common is at least a powerful nominal emphasis on national sovereignty. Or to put in another way, the 'globalization' meme, with its 'national sovereignty is outmoded, etc', was and is at least nominally repudiated by all three.

Supporters of the globalization meme have included those gaining power via the transnational corporate and financial juggernaut, those committed to variations on the theme of 'full spectrum domination', those who became captive of the ideology that the only way to prevent a global nuclear war was to end the nation state and set up a global totalitarianism, and well meaning people who liked the sound of 'we're all just part of the global village now', with a nod to the “I prefer it such that I can fly anywhere and do anything I want' credit-card powered crowd.

But most of us have our roots attached to place, its people and history and future prospects. We're locals, attached to a country.

Curiously, after much Putin and Russia bashing, there was a petition in Alaska in 2014 – at some point it had 30,000 signatures – asking Russia to take Alaska back.

Joke or not, note that in a recent poll
approximately 2/3 of Japanese, South Koreans and Mexicans feared the US, and in Germany 49% fear US and only 30% fear Russia.

But RT weighed in with the news that 85% of Germans saw US-German relations as negative or very negative, and an astounding 2% saw Russia as a problem.

There has been a long standing meme represented by the words 'the ugly American'. This was the dollars flush barbarian going off to far off lands and demonstrating a startling lack of diplomatic culture and proper upbringing. But even so, if we say fly mentally back to early nineteen sixties, the admiration for America was still very strong, even in the USSR. When Jackie Kennedy visited India for example, it was like a hugely noted and positive event.

Now, after decades of foreign wars of aggression - the greatest crime - direct and by proxy, all camouflaged by lies, the 'war' turns on America itself, with tens of thousands of swat team raids, excelling in killing the family dog, and some of the streets of San Francisco looking like ghoulish zombie land, among the many symptoms of extreme and perhaps terminal dysfunction.

Who would want that? Countries around the planet are definitely in the alternative approach mode.

There are so many aspects to the cultural divide between Russia and say the US. Note that Russia has encouraged organic agriculture - good for people and environment - banned GMOs.
And Russia's protective standards on Electromagnetic exposures, last I checked, were far more protective than that prevailing in US (and Canada for that matter).

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Feb 16 2019 18:34 utc | 38

i see some posts were deleted right after i posted! @20 is now @16 - dbep.. @39 is now @36 - see fiona jenkins article...

Posted by: james | Feb 16 2019 18:36 utc | 39

I do not mean to disrespect or to diminish any of the worthy others here, but I agree with Lohmann's singling out of karloff1, psychohistorian and grieved, who do seem to have their fingers accurately and constantly on the pulse of history and circumstance.

I hereby add my thanks to you three.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Feb 16 2019 18:53 utc | 40

Posted by: Noirette | Feb 16, 2019 1:28:28 PM | 36

Why is this article praised on MoA?

I guess because, for some, Russian nationalism is more attractive that American imperialism.
Which is sad, because Russian nationalism is the force that can destroy Russia from within.

Posted by: hopehely | Feb 16 2019 19:02 utc | 41

Monarchy: L'etat c'est moi.

Western Deep State: L'etat c'est un noble mensonge.

Surkov's Deep Putin: Les gens c'est moi.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 16 2019 19:03 utc | 42

@all -
deleted some trolls and sockpuppet comments.
That messes up the comment numbering.
Please excuse the inconvenience.

Posted by: b | Feb 16 2019 19:04 utc | 43

My term for Surkov's Deep State with Russian features: Deep Putin(tm).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 16 2019 19:19 utc | 44

Thanks for opening a discussion on this article, b. I also recommend the Orlov translation, since the writing is complex. I am currently reading Dostoievski's "The Devils" (translated as "The Possessed" in most English editions) and after going through the old copy I have, will acquire a more recent translation to go deeper in. I think it is important historically as assisting me in acquiring somewhat the perspective being brought in the Surkov article.

It is interesting that in the center of the novel (published in the 1870's) liberalism is being taken to its distorted extreme by a small group of would-be anarchists whose proposals have a modern twist to them as codified by one of their would-be leaders:

"...In the first place, there is a lowering of the level of education, science, and art...the thirst for knowledge is an aristocratic thirst. No sooner do we have a family and experience love than we begin to desire to own things. We shall kill that desire; we shall spread drunkenness, gossip, information on others...everything must be reduced to the common denominator of complete equality...

Posted by: juliania | Feb 16 2019 19:34 utc | 45

Posted by: hopehely | Feb 16, 2019 2:02:48 PM | 41

Russia has always been imperialist. They basically have the widest country on earth to stretch themselves. And there are a few peoples stretched over, if they mind it or not.

On the issue of federalism, I side with Lenin.

What that article is doing is "whistling in the dark". Of course, a system that is based on the personality of Putin, will have a huge problem, when he steps down.

This here is a joke
"However, the XXI century is turning out the way we said it would. British Brexit, American #GreatAgain, anti-immigrant enclosure of Europe—these are but the first few items in a long list of commonplace manifestations of deglobalization, re-sovereignization and nationalism."

Compare to this US Somali immigrant - representative from Minnesota - in a headscarf

Russia, if you want to become competitive - and not just a petrol and gas station with amazing 19th and 20th century art - you cannot return to 19th century political recipes.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 16 2019 19:38 utc | 46

Just adding to my post above, the difference between a 'deep state' and a 'deep nation' is that deep nation means no separation between the acts of the leaders and the desires of the populace, the entire populace. The quote I inserted above does the opposite. It is a description of what 'the masses' will be 'educated into' by the elite. That is a 'deep state' philosophy.

Posted by: juliania | Feb 16 2019 19:39 utc | 47

>if we say fly mentally back to early nineteen sixties, the admiration
>for America was still very strong, even in the USSR.
>Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Feb 16, 2019 1:34:44 PM | 38

My uncle was in the US Navy in the early sixties. He made many ports of call in the Mediterranean basin, where he and his mates were warmly greeted. Not so much now, I'm sure.

Some here might recall that Ike was extremely pissed off at the British, French, and Israelis for attacking Egypt and creating the 1956 Suez crisis. He threatened to dump UK bonds and crash their financial system. That's pretty serious stuff!

So how did the Israelis manage to shift US policy 180 degrees, like a parasite taking over the host's brain? Perhaps the answer to that could yield clues as to how to remove said parasite without killing the host. Although the host is already brain-dead, so maybe it wouldn't matter...

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Feb 16 2019 19:41 utc | 48

I disagree with Surkov in the sense that, albeit it may have a political purpose for the specific historical time it was written, it doesn't have scientific value.

Modern Russia is a full-fledged capitalist country, therefore equally subject to the inner contradictions of the system. No, I don't think Russia is some kind of "third system". No, I don't think it is a stable society: it is full of inner contradictions. Yes, it has a different culture from the West. Yes, it is good Russia still exist. But let not kiss the cross: this Russia is not the future for humanity; unless it suddenly becomes socialist again, there's nothing there.

Posted by: vk | Feb 16 2019 19:50 utc | 49

@Posted by: Noirette | Feb 16, 2019 1:28:28 PM | 36

Of course, the great article it is not.

But, what you are asking for, is for Surkov unveiling all the Russian policy, internal and external, and that is too much asking, even when the international environment would not be so dire.

Take into account that this is an article written to be published in a mass media, thus, subtly saying two or three things trying to explain some positions of the RF, and mainly directed to whom it is driected, the opponents, both inside and outside Russia.
For the same reason, and in concordance with the very Russian style of diplomacy he is very cautious and subtle with reference to partners.

Being his personal style of writting most of the time kind of confussing and always sounding like including hided and double meanings/senses, I deem this one of his as one of his most clarifying articles, saying exactly what was meant to say, no more.

Posted by: Sasha | Feb 16 2019 19:52 utc | 50

@Ellis | Feb 16, 2019 8:18:42 AM | 7

Could someone help me here? Reading this: "...that of a great and growing community of nations that gathers lands." I get stuck understanding what gathering lands might mean in this context. Much appreciate any insights you could offer.
I was puzzled by that too and I think something is lost in translation. Westenern MSM would probably interpret this as expansionism by forced annexation. Perhaps someone can produce another translation?
Обрушившись с уровня СССР до уровня РФ, Россия рушиться прекратила, начала восстанавливаться и вернулась к своему естественному и единственно возможному состоянию великой, увеличивающейся и собирающей земли общности народов.

The Yandex computer translation reads

Having fallen from the level of the USSR to the level of the Russian Federation, Russia tumbling stopped, began to recover and returned to its natural and only possible state of great, growing and gathering of the earth community of Nations.

The "gathering of the earth community of Nations." sounds a bit like a Jamboree to me.

Posted by: Joost | Feb 16 2019 19:55 utc | 51

I just stumbled on another essay from Vladislav Surkov, originally published April 9th 2018.

Posted by: Joost | Feb 16 2019 20:07 utc | 52

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Feb 16, 2019 2:41:39 PM | 48

So how did the Israelis manage to shift US policy 180 degrees, like a parasite taking over the host's brain?

Chomsky answers it. For inpatient, the meat and marrow starts from 6' onward, but as always, it is better to hear it all.

Posted by: hopehely | Feb 16 2019 20:18 utc | 53

The underlying message of Vladislav Surkov's essay is that the relationship between a leader and the nation he leads must be based on mutual trust, and that trust must be based on a system of governance that is transparent to all, and on foundations and values that a would-be leader must respect and with which s/he must align her/his own values and beliefs.

The foundations and values on which government relies and which the leader must always bear in mind (and heart as well) arise from the history or histories and the beliefs of the nation the leader governs.

The Chinese have a similar concept known as the Mandate of Heaven.

If the West ever had something similar to what Surkov is suggesting, it was embodied in the Social Contract.

The significant difference is that the West with its Roman Catholic / Protestant view of humans as having been born in sin and needing to be saved by belief in Jesus as their saviour (and the corollary that human nature essentially is incapable of moral and spiritual improvement, and can only be made perfect by being forced into the right spiritual path), has long been governed by a set of values that based on suspicion and mistrust of others. In a sense, much of European history (with its history of small states at constant war or rivalry against one another, which they later took beyond European bounds during the 15th century and after) and why it was so, compared to other parts of the world, might be explained as a result of societies based around a particular set of beliefs, values and view of the human condition.

The US Constitution with its checks and balances on the executive, legislative and judiciary functions of government reflects something of the view of humans as untrustworthy and essentially moral and spiritual infants, obsessed with their own immediate self-gratification and short-term interests. Much classical economics (with the belief in the free market and the idea that competing interests eventually reach a balance or equilibrium point) is based on this despairing view of humans; the neoliberal incarnation of classical economics exalts this view and portrays it as the ideal.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 16 2019 20:57 utc | 54

Trailer Trash @ 48:

The turning point may well have been John F Kennedy's assassination in November 1963. After that event - which some say was organised by various individuals and groups, of which Mossad and the Israeli government may have been two co-conspirators - a great deal changed. The US began to escalate its war in Vietnam and the cost of pursuing that war eventually led to the US government in 1971 taking the US dollar off the gold standard and allowing it to create fiat money.

Something must have happened well before 1967 when the USS Liberty was strafed by Israeli fighter jets in the intent to destroy it and all its crew and the incident blamed on the Egyptians in an effort to draw the US into the Six Day War.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 16 2019 21:09 utc | 55

Trailer Trash @ 48:

I should have added in my comment @ 55 that the 1967 bombing incident was covered up by the US government and media at the time, and that it still remains secret in spite of the efforts of those who survived the incident to make it public.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 16 2019 21:11 utc | 56

Thank you for that link, hopehely @53. I agree with Chomsky. I lived through the turn of the US towards Israel, although I was quite young and didn't realize what was happening. I thought it happened about 1972, with the oil embargo, and the Palestinian slaughter of the Israeli athletes. But 1967? OK, that could be right.
It was the 70s when the US ruling class really started pushing religious fundamentalism, and not just in the Arab countries or South America (to counter liberation theology). They did it here, also.
We had the Jesus Freaks here. They were very prevalent and well-funded. James Dobson and his Focus on the Family (Beat Your Child For Jesus) was everywhere in the media, and in libraries and schools. That was their way of pushing back against kindly child rearing, which they blamed for the uppity young people of the 60s and 70s. Their hatred of Dr. Benjamin Spock was right up there with the demonization of Putin today. My father told me that the Southern Baptists used to be quite liberal, until the crazies took over in the 70s.
I had no idea until recently that the Israelis had captured the Temple of the Mount in 1967 and then handed it back to the Arabs. Whew! That was close. By now I know that the crazy Christians have to have that piece of ground to further their ambition of the Apocalypse and the Rapture, which they dream about and slaver over (check out Left Behind merchandise sometime, if you want to see the depths of their hatred).

But, as I recall, the turning to Israel stopped when Jimmy Carter was president. Then, when the Evil Reagan came to power, he and his fellow nutjobs, they turned to the "aircraft carrier in the Middle East" and no president since then has really turned against Israel.

And it seems that Israel went through its own turn to fundamentalism, especially with crazy American Jews moving there.

Posted by: wagelaborer | Feb 16 2019 21:15 utc | 57

@Posted by: Joost | Feb 16, 2019 2:55:41 PM | 51

Well there is the continuous development on integration of the Union State, with preciselly crucial statements which were made just around these days by both, President Putin and President Lukashenko.

One wonders whether this article by Surkov came in advance for those statements...

Then there is the increasing growing ties and integration at all levels amongst members of EAEU, also mentioned in these statements....

Posted by: Sasha | Feb 16 2019 21:19 utc | 58

From reading his speeches, watching his presentations and his interviews, what I can deduce from Putin is this. He is a man who loves his country. A man who wants to see his countrymen succeed. And most importantly, he wants to leave a future for those young men and women who will rule the country when they come of age. What is wrong with that? I don’t see those qualities in ANY of the rulers who rule our Western civilization.

Posted by: Jose Garcia | Feb 16 2019 21:52 utc | 59

Glad to know the Empire does not have a monopoly on propoganda.

So basically the Wests “Deep State Keeps Elites in Check” and is not scary with right perspective. In Russia the “Deep Nation” is “People Power” which Limit Elites (oligarchs) Power. Government is open and honest so no Deep State. In Putin We (Deep Nation) Trust . To control large land area and resources military and policing functions of the government are the most important and decisive. Just as in the Empire but its not scary because of the “Deep Nation People Power” and “In Putin We Trust”

Posted by: Pft | Feb 16 2019 22:01 utc | 60

@Posted by: Sasha | Feb 16, 2019 4:19:35 PM | 58

May be more illuminating...

Posted by: Sasha | Feb 16 2019 22:07 utc | 61

@ Jen | Feb 16, 2019 3:57:22 PM | 54

Re your view that the US Constitution was based upon “...the view of humans as untrustworthy and essentially moral and spiritual infants, obsessed with their own immediate self-gratification and short-term interests.”

That is one more-or-less reasonable qualitative interpretation of the document. My own view is that your view would be more accurate if the word “humans” were to be replaced with “those who wish to rule over others.” In other words – politicians.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Feb 16 2019 22:18 utc | 62

wagelaborer | Feb 16, 2019 1:03:08 PM | 34
The US went on a worldwide killing spree, while at home, with no USSR as a good example, or to support rational left politics, we have lost our unions, our jobs, our houses and our damn common sense. Now they are telling us that men can be women and vice versa, in the final Big Brother control of reality and perception. War is Peace, check. Ignorance is Strength, check. It is possible to change your biological body with the power of your mind, check.
They have turned us into blithering idiots, fit only to bicker as the final looting commences.

I self exiled more than 16 years ago, and have been observing from afar; In one paragraph you have summarized the west. Well done you...

Posted by: V | Feb 17 2019 0:04 utc | 63

Posted by: Joost | Feb 16, 2019 2:55:41 PM | 51
I think something is lost in translation.
I agree. For example, the expression the Russian author uses 'глубинный народ' (glubinniy narod) is sort of 'deep nation' but not quite.
'Narod' means people, folk, or nation, but not nation in abstract political sense but with more organic, crowd or tribal like connotation. Nation in Russian is 'natsiya', an import from France, like everywhere else. The word deep in Russian is 'glubokiy. 'Glubina' is depth, 'glubinniy' sounds to me like something with great depth, depthy. So, the phrase 'glubinniy narod' has some poetic, mystical vibe which is definitely lost in translation.

Here is another example where translation IMO deviates somewhat from the original:

In essence, society only trusts the head of state.

in the original text it says:
По существу же общество доверяет только первому лицу.

'This kind of society by its nature only trusts the first person (lit. the first face)'.

Head of state in Russian is 'glava gosudarstva' the expression the author did not use. He used the expression that is quite interesting because it is as same as the first person in grammatical sense (in verb conjugations). So, what exactly 'first person' means I am not sure, but I suspect that is akin to 'from the horse's mouth' meaning directly, without intermediaries.

Posted by: hopehely | Feb 17 2019 0:48 utc | 64

@54 Jen

Thank you for the concept of the Mandate of Heaven. Yes, I think that does reflect what Surkov was describing, as well as the actual reality in truth. I wonder how the Chinese see Russia in these terms?

I think Surkov is pointing to nothing less than the enduring presence and spiritual force of "the people" in every land, and so what he calls Putinism is simply that inherent genius of Putin to identify with the ordinary people, because his natural humility could know no other kindred.

This alone, as Surkov states, has caused great waves of solidarity around the world, from all those who bond with and work for and fight for the people everywhere - including what we might call the tide of history.

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 17 2019 1:10 utc | 65

@7 Ellis - "...that of a great and growing community of nations that gathers lands."

He is saying that Russia is part of a great community of nations in the world, that is growing and gathering ever more nations into its community (i.e. of the multipolar world).

This is actually very simple and clean grammar, and I confess I read too much into it when I first read it. It's not saying anything about Russia getting bigger, but the global community of nations getting bigger.

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 17 2019 1:16 utc | 66

@33 Fiona Jenkins and others

I've read the article by Dugin now, and gone back to read Surkov. I probably need to read them both again, perhaps forever, because I think they illustrate the nation of Russia trying to find its way forward into "life beyond Putin", and both articles are of extreme importance as two sides of a dialog.

I think Dugin is correct when he says that Putin has fallen short of creating a new system of state that can itself endure. And that the oligarchs will naturally attempt, after Putin, to rule the state as in the old way. He is correct in saying that no alternative to Putin has come forth in all this time, and that this is a failing of the situation. He is also correct, as many friends of Russia here would agree, that the day of reckoning for the fifth column and the corrupt vested interests has not come under Putin, and that it remains yet to happen - if at all - after Putin.

And this is the crux. Will that day of reckoning come, or will evil gain in strength again when Putin is gone?

Dugin says that the Russian people have to have this fight and overthrow that privileged, non-patriotic, class of people. I personally would call it a class revolution of sorts that establishes a formal strain of socialism into the system - creating a hard-wired system that Dugin himself would trust to endure, regardless of leaders.

Surkov meanwhile is saying that the people are the source of all power, and that Putin's genius is that he is naturally plugged into that source. And that any successive leaders must follow the Putin model and be plugged into the people. Surkov seems to think that this will happen because it must, by force of the dynamic itself, and its imperative itself. Maybe this is so. And maybe it happens because of advocates like Surkov in attendance to its birth.

What I take from both these sides of the one argument - which is simply and purely how to envision a world beyond Putin - is that Putin has not left a changed system but he has left a spiritual benchmark for the goodness of the state, and it is intimately bound up with the well being of the people. This benchmark will endure, for a time, after Putin, but how the people rise to fill the void and create a more perfect system, I think remains to be seen, remains to happen. In this regard, I see no reason for despair or complacency.

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 17 2019 1:52 utc | 67

I humbly thank those thanking me. It's very gratifying!

Jose Garcia @59 distilled much into his short appraisal, to which I only endorse. I see the following caught b's eye and those of others:

"Russia ... returned to its natural and its only possible condition: that of a great and growing community of nations that gathers lands. It is not a humble role that world history has assigned to our country, and it does not allow us to exit the world stage or to remain silent among the community of nations; it does not promise us rest and it predetermines the difficult character of our governance."

Any open-minded, closely watching, student of Russian history would easily understand what's meant by the bolded text; although presently, the lands being gathered are those of its allies. And in those words, the author admits Russia remains an Empire, although diminished somewhat from its greatest extent. However, it's a Communal Empire, embracing over 100 different ethnic groups, numerous tongues, and every major religion. Yet, the "Nationality Question" that so intrigued Sovietologists as a possible way to implode the USSR provides the inner core of Russia's "deep nation," and on almost every public occasion I've seen Putin attend he shows a pride in Russia's diversity Trump and ilk are completely incapable of.

And what would be the state of the world today if not for Russia? What coalition would have been capable of stopping Napoleon if Russia hadn't sacrificed first? The Kaiser's racial war for dominance between Teutons and Slavs, which would've likely been a slam-dun repeat of 1870 if not for the need for two fronts. The 25+ Million Soviets and other nationalities that allied on the Eastern Front to defeat Hitler's Armies. And perhaps I'll go outside the box and allege that if not for the USSR, post-war USA would have colonized the planet as it still desires.

But what of "Putinism." We should return to Jose's sharp analysis and add: Putin insists on the dedicated involvement of his fellow citizens; that they work just as hard and diligently as he; and that they also play and enjoy life just as much. In return, he will be as honest and open with his fellows as possible--which is really rather amazing to observe and is of another universe from what we get "treated" to in the West. He wants feedback--positive and negative--he wants to hear about the problems he never gets to hear about--his humanism is startling, again, as it's so diametrically different. And he's almost always positive--even when he's being negative. If he errs, he owns up. Then there's the courage of his convictions and constancy of being morally, ethically, and legally correct--which in Russia means he's also politically correct. Does it really require someone special to have those traits? I don't think so, although there're personality types that would never be capable of performing as does Putin. I think it's all related to the basics: Parenting, schooling, mentoring, but also the overall context of growing up in what is truly a cosmopolitan nation that's accepting of Others--again, to be Russian means to embrace Russianness, which is unique amongst national cultures as noted above. In short, only a Russian is capable of emulating Putin.

But, the question's begged: Would Putin fit as head-of-state for a Western nation, or would that be impossible due to the vastly differing contexts?

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 17 2019 2:06 utc | 68

>Chomsky answers it. For inpatient, the meat and marrow starts from 6'
>onward, but as always, it is better to hear it all.
>Posted by: hopehely | Feb 16, 2019 3:18:17 PM | 53

Thank you, it was interesting.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Feb 17 2019 2:24 utc | 69

This was one of your best articles, and there's no short supply here. Thank you, Mr. B.
Russia is fulfilling old prophecies.
The country is an enormous mass land, between East and West, and because of this and its history, I believe it is the world 's balancer.
Russia has been to Hell and back and in the process managed to learn from past mistakes( and we have to remember that some of those mistakes, like the Bolshevik revolution, were financed by the west: Trotsky( Bronshtein) and his 2 Bil in today's money from Kuhn and Loeb Bank, Jacob Schiff, Lenin with millions in gold from Germany).
What did not kill Russia, made her stronger. Russia witnessed the "superior" US system, liberalism, during Yeltsin's era, not only communism. And Russia chose neither.
She chose Mr. Putin, a real patriot, who took Russia from her knees and elevated her to the role she has today: a superpower.
I don't think the Russians wanted this role, but they didn't have a choice. Somebody has to fight the psychopaths.
As for US, the coup d'erat was incremental: the cornerstone was in 1913, with the creation of the private Federal Reserve, with its 9 big banks shareholders,the root of all evil .Money created as debt( credit) and loaned to people with interest. Fractional reserve banking later. Everything else is bribes and blackmails.
Then 1963, the removal of the only semi independent president, who would have put a stop to their NWO.
1970's with replacement of Bretton Woods with the petro-dollar deal and the subsequent wars .
And 2001 as the grand finale: total control.
Now US has to protect the petro-dollar, the only think giving it relevance; This explains our wars, enemies, allies( like KSA).
Some say that US was a FreeMason construct from the very beginning. And looking at all Masonic signs: dollar bill, Statue of Liberty, apotheosis of Washington , Washington DC plans, most founding fathers, etc. they may be right.

Posted by: veritas semper vincit | Feb 17 2019 2:38 utc | 70

karlof1 | Feb 16, 2019 9:06:26 PM | 70

I think of Putin's annual gathering of reporters; wherein, he sits for hours fielding questions.
He listens and answers with no notes or prompts.
That alone speaks volumes as to his character.
I know of no other world leader who has ever done this.

Posted by: V | Feb 17 2019 2:47 utc | 71

@hopehely | Feb 16, 2019 7:48:31 PM | 66

Thanks for more accurate sense of what Surkov wrote. Translation can easily indulge in funny business, intended or not.

Several critical points for Russia have been passed. One is the restoration of national pride and functionality; another is the achievement of a military capable of resisting or destroying the Hegemonic-wannabe war addicts; another is the re-admittance of Crimea.

There is much irony in the Empire Wannabe's coup in Ukraine in 2014. So much salivating and cackling over the Crimea as a soon to be NATO/West vacation-land military base/naval base. What Ukraine 2014 – the 'most blatant coup in history' – accomplished was an abrupt ice cold shower wake up re any lingering innocence or doubts about the Empire's intentions re Russia, and a huge spur to creating antidotes, alternatives, etc to the Empire.

But I think perhaps the most significant achievement of Putin and various other Russian officials - for example Foreign Minister Lavrov or UN Ambassador Nebenzia - is effective intelligent communication within a Western official communication 'paradigm' that is so abundantly endowed with reflexive pretense and dishonesty and ignorance.

And consider RT. It is typically far superior to the 'news and information and analysis' (sic) outlets of the West. In the end, if homo sapiens are to earn any credentials towards deserving the name, surely it will be done by taking a far more excellent and honest path than the posturing bs and ignorance that Western mass media is so prolific of.

Not long ago on Moon of Alabama there were some quotes from Thucydides. What strikes me in reading the classical Greek literature is how smart and articulate those people were. They were to an extraordinarily unusual extent, free to think and express their thoughts. The Greeks themselves
described themselves as free people, surrounded by so many subject people.

We in the West live in a regime where self-censorship is greatly in vogue, reinforced by various legal and secret-police type overseers. After 9/11, I asked one of Canada's most plucky journalists if there was any chance that their major Canadian news organization would do anything realistic on 9/11. The answer given to me in part was "It's so big and scary. We're just small potatoes...."

Of course neither contemporary Russia nor classical Greek circumstance were anything near perfect, but thinking forthrightly and clearly -and if need be boldly - in public is surely a better role model than craven silence or astounding stupidity and dishonesty.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Feb 17 2019 2:51 utc | 72

@ Grieved who wrote
And this is the crux. Will that day of reckoning come, or will evil gain in strength again when Putin is gone?
Good question!

My thought is that Putin knows that the only way to limit the control of his internal oligarchs is to insure the fall of the private finance led Western system that they need to execute their perfidy.

I note that China has made Xi permanent and Putin might as well be. To me this means the populace has bought into the leaders vision and that vision will carry forward after the leader moves on.

I think one can say that humanity is engaged in an existential "debate" about the social contract through the proxy battles we are watching. It is too bad that we can't have totally public adult conversations about such things. Whatever Trump says on Tuesday about Venezuela/Socialism will put proof to my proxy battle concept.

Gawd knows we will never discuss human patriarchy/gender equality...sigh

Evolve humanity, Dammit!!!! (my dad had a sign in his car that read "Lead, Follow Or Get Out Of The Way")

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 17 2019 3:00 utc | 73

psychohistorian "My thought is that Putin knows that the only way to limit the control of his internal oligarchs is to insure the fall of the private finance led Western system that they need to execute their perfidy."

I have watched a youtube video of Putin talking about the CIA victory parade in Moscow in the early nineties. I looked for this when I read Grieved's comment but could not find it. There was lot of anger - savagery perhaps a better word - in his voice.
When the US pulled out of the ABM treaty in, I think 2002, he initiated the research and development of deterrent that would bypass and make obsolete any US ABM system.
I think Putin will see out the US empire. Like the next gen weapons that were unveiled last year with the publication of Trump's Nuclear Posture Review, I believe Putin would have been working on the downfall of the US empire since the day he took office as president of the Russian federation.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 17 2019 4:00 utc | 74

Jen, Grieved

The Mandate of Heaven is similar but IMO there are important differences.

1) Putinism is grounded in the people, not a heavenly authority.

2) It appears that Putinism has, or will have, specific mechanisms that are meant to keep the leader in tune with the people.

I wonder if the Orthodox church is part of that mechanism, given reporting by John Helmer:



3) Putinism is (by design?) transferable 0 it's being offered as a practical model that other countries can adopt / are adopting.

4) My sense is that Putinism transcends politics. There is a cultural aspect that rejects Western philosophy and theology.

The Western church has failed its moral mission. It was always compromised but now that "God is dead", Western political elites pay little heed to moral principle. Heartless neolibs and neocons meet with virtually no resistance as they comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted.

Coinciding with the moral decay, "checks and balances" have also failed. Western government debt has soared. Western political elites circumvent Constitutional rights and government oversight (by using cut-outs and foreign funding). Wealthy Westerners (the "people that matter") do not speak up - instead they keep tens of trillions "off-shore". And Western corporate presstitutes serve as a propaganda mouthpiece.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

As many details are yet unknown, it's difficult to access how robust the "Deep Putin" model of politics and governance may be.

Russia's delineating their own independent path is somewhat good news for the West. It means that they will not be subservient to China. But Western neocon asshats might muck that up by probing every possible way of undermining Russia.

Repeating what I've said before: countries don't have friend's, the have interests -BUT- if a country hopes to rule the world, those interests must include some sort of morality. The West is reaping what it sowed. Will they take that to heart, or succumb to neocon asshats that always seek to double-down?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 17 2019 4:30 utc | 75

The American reality of today is the the polar opposite of what is known as the American Dream.

Putinism and the American Dream.

Putin began laying a solid foundation for a fair democracy in Russia shortly after coming to office.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 17 2019 4:58 utc | 76

Deep state exists in any state officially under any political system democracy and autocracy. As for Tsar letters from 1917 who confirmed that his was abandoned and power was taken over by security apparatus, the same was in 2014 in Ukraine that his personal security unit mutined while he, his family and two security guard we saved due to Russian help as they were evacuated from Donbass where rhetoric fled. Electoral theater makes no difference to deep state that continues until real and bloody revolution occurs, to create new deep state protecting ruling elite interests same in Russia, same in the US as Mills noticed over a century ago.

As they posited, when men want to rule without seeming to do so, .. because they cannot [openly] lay claim to the required legitimacy, they will rule invisibly and “benignly,” shielding themselves behind the rhetoric of popular rule.

Although “authority [in the US supposedly] formally resides ‘in the people,’ . . . the power of initiation is in fact held by small circles of men.”[In hands of behind the scenes ruling oligarchic elite]. This is not to be known. There is the risk that power becomes identified by its true colors. “That is why the standard strategy of manipulation is to make it appear that the people . . . ‘really made the decision’” (ibid., 317).

This is the idea behind allowing people or as Lippmann described them “meddlesome spectators” to go through in fact meaningless voting ritual.

[In the US we have,] .. to use Sheldon Wolin’s terminology, .. a “managed democracy,” political form in which governments are legitimated by elections that they have learned to control,” form of government that attempts to keep alive appearance of democracy while simultaneously defeating democracy’s primary purpose, self-government.

As quoted above both, Tocqueville and Mills, identified hidden menacing power structure of fused state and private tyranny [also called Deep State] and its rules of control that are hidden, subtle unutterable, unspoken about, power that denies itself as power under guise of false free choice and propaganda of democratic participation.

The mere existence or if necessary exertion of this hidden power is the key ingredient in fragmenting population, producing masses of “sheeple” who lack capacity of self-understanding or even recognizing that they are being directly controlled both individually and collectively, that acquire their irrational/self-defeating behavior within a political realm.

Posted by: Kalen | Feb 17 2019 5:42 utc | 77

Deep Russia.

Yeltsin had a lot of faults. He also appointed and sacked many prime ministers. He appointed Putin prime minister, then appointed Putin president to serve out the remainder of his own term. For all Yeltsin's faults, in appointing and sacking pm's, he was looking for somebody who could lead Russia.

I have watched this speech several times. Now I would have to term it Deep Russia.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 17 2019 6:22 utc | 78

@ Peter AU1 with the Yeltsin exit speech video

Thanks for that. I was not paying attention at the time as a techie focused on Y2K but this certainly gives a more sober view of Yeltsin than the West gave him at the time.....yeah, Deep Russia that America/West does not respect enough

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 17 2019 7:13 utc | 79

Back to the Future
George Orwell was born in Bihar, India. The name Bihar comes from the root word, Vihar, which means temple. An auspicious place. A place where we can understand the idea of time; the past, present and future as one. Mr Orwell certainly achieved this feat; perhaps destined to by virtue of the circumstances of his birth. He was, or at least his writings were, prophetic. He could see the reality of how the world was, because of how the people were and consequently he could see how the future would unravel, logically. He was not wrong then and he is not wrong in these darkened days in which we are dying.

In his masterpiece, 1984, he introduces us to a dystopian reality that has encompassed the globe; three fascistic power blocs of the northern hemisphere, Oceania, Eurasia and East Asia fighting each other for the resources of the southern hemisphere. London was the capital of Airstrip One, an offshore island and part of the superstate of Oceania (North America and the British Isles). She was at endless war with her neighbours, rivals and enemies in the battle for global domination, Eurasia (Europe and Russia) and East Asia (China and the states that border her today).

The debacle which has enveloped the United Kingdom and the European Union over the former’s decision to withdraw from the latter’s club, has created the opportunity for two thirds of this fiction to become real facts, eventually and inevitably forcing the hand of the Peoples Republic to realise a historical belief and vision, espoused many years before on the BBC’s Dateline London programme by a Chinese TV journalist (London correspondent, probably), that if it looks Chinese, then it is Chinese. Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos would return to the bosom of the motherland, as Austria, the Sudatenland etc was annexed to the German fatherland.

All this because Russia and the Europeans would have come together, probably quite naturally, in response to Great Britain and Ireland having joined as the fifty first, second, third and fifty fourth states, of the United States. These four ancient nations will find no other way to resolve the #Brexit conundrum and they will see this as the only logical option - an English speaking block, based on common free trade ideals, that guarantees their sovereignty. It would appeal to each of the four nations, the English, Scots, Welsh and Irish, perhaps for different reasons but they would be accepting because their national ego’s will be satisfied with this international recognition of each of their sovereign rights.

There is a certain historical inevitability about the whole thing. As a man who spent the formative years of his life in India, he will be aware of the darkness of the age in which we live, an age that the Hindus know as the age of Kali, Kal Yug. An age of darkness and destruction, of deviance and distrust. It is an age that has come before and that will come again, just as the golden ages have come and in time must pass again, back into history. Each has their time and their place. The creatures born in such an age must accept it and refuse to capitulate to it’s mesmerising illusions. Of course they won’t - it is all too mesmeric, the illusion too beautiful. The illusion of self, of nation, of country, of power, of right and of wrong. It is the illusion of the physical, of the material, of the possibilities of each, that will drive nations together into the power structures from which there will be no escape until the Armageddon, that is theoretically believed in by many of the participants, will arrive and the age will turn, again.

Posted by: Steve D Keith | Feb 17 2019 7:41 utc | 80

“Glubina” also means the Russian countryside (an analogy would be “la France profonde”) - everywhere outside the cities is the “glubina” for which the people have a mystical attachment.

Western sanctions have been a great boon to Russian agriculture, as well cementing national solidarity. The new sanctions being contemplated in Washington will, if they are confirmed, act as a spur for Russia to quarantine itself against the next western financial collapse. My impression has always been that VVP greatly values stability and a reacts to attacks from the outside only reluctantly and after great thought as to where Russia’s fundamental interests lie.

Posted by: Montreal | Feb 17 2019 9:03 utc | 81

@james 37

Do you also agree with donkeytale's glibe comparison of the Putin go ernment to the Nazi Hitler regime and the Trump administration?

Posted by: QuietRebel | Feb 17 2019 9:18 utc | 82

I think that imperialism has invaded the Western psyche to such an extent that many people, particularly in the 5Eyes countries, seem to believe that their first impressions are of such weight and credibility that thoughtful consideration of a subject is unnecessary. This is apparent in so many of the comments here which come off as edicts or proclamations from on high and which treat alternative viewpoints with derision and contempt.

Conversely, many of the comments are thoughtful and well reasoned, open to other's views, but these are often drowned out. I can't be the only one who's noticed that someone here is using numerous identities in order to dominate the discussion, create consensus, and to "gang up" on people. It creates a microcosm of imperialism which, to me, speaks louder than any position or ethic that this keyboard emperor(ess) professes.

Posted by: mourning dove | Feb 17 2019 9:32 utc | 83

Posted by: Pft | Feb 16, 2019 5:01:40 PM | 60

Yep. It is a joke.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 17 2019 9:37 utc | 84

Add: This is John Helmers unsentimental summary on the recent attempt to find an "official" justification for power.

The issue is not political. It is the economic success of the Chinese model (which is very different from the Russian one, but Russia might get closer to it, than it is to Western neoliberalism).

And China is the present technological leader.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 17 2019 9:54 utc | 85

Jack Rabbit @ 76:

In the doctrine of the Mandate of Heaven, the concept of Heaven encompasses the order of the natural world where the ruler governs the people, and is not merely concerned with humanity's relations with the spiritual world. If the natural world is beset by drought, famine or other natural disasters, that is a sign that the ruler is not caring for the people and the people have the right to overthrow that ruler.

The effects of drought, famine, flooding and some other natural disasters can be prevented, minimised or alleviated, sometimes to the extent that life can even carry on as if the disaster had not happened, so in the past emperors did have reason to fear prolonged or repeated disasters from one year to the next - because those disasters could very well be consequences of past inaction or past actions that were wrong or corrupt.

The concept doesn't advise or tell leaders how to stay in touch with the people; they presumably must figure this out for themselves to be effective leaders.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 17 2019 10:51 utc | 86

"Globalization" would be the diminishing of the strength of the nation-states with the corresponding increase in the strength of the trading entities, the corporations. That's easy to reject!

But when the nation-states fade away because the traders have faded away and there's no longer any need to control and regulate them, then you have the dreamed about condition.

One can formulate any philosophy of government one wants, but it is certainly better that one not see trade as being natural and eternal.

Posted by: Spike | Feb 17 2019 14:08 utc | 87

Understanding of Russia perplexed Westerners of centuries (Chinese did not seem to care too much). Genuine curiosity can be detected in news sections not related to politics, as it can be witnessed by an article in Forbes, Food and Drink section. Title and a quote:

Want To Find A Rich Person In Russia? Look For The Lemons
Lizzy Saxe Contributor, "I write about the future of food, business, and culture." Food & Drink

Quote: Harold noticed that "Russians consume a lot more lemons per capita than many other parts of the world. I was wondering, is that because they drink a lot of vodka? Is it because they're big tea drinkers? Why are they using so many lemons?" He started to investigate. He discovered that the answer wasn't quite that universal.

Unsurprisingly, lemons don't grow in Russia. It's too cold to produce them, so you have to buy them from far, far away. That makes the sour yellow citrus expensive. So expensive, in fact, that, "wealthy Russians really like to incorporate lemons into their lifestyle. It communicates to people that they have the means to be able to afford them. They call it the bling of produce."


Someone sold simple-minded Lizzy a tall story, and Russians and Russophiles have a hilarious stream of twits today. For a journalist in a business publication that should know a thing or two about marketing, the fact that a product has high per capita consumption should suggest that it is not restricted to the rich, unless the country in question has reversed income pyramid, enormous percentage of status seeking rich folks. In fact, since long time, tea drinking was popular in Russia, perhaps because their Siberian holdings required them to sell furs, Chinese mandarins like to have fur hats and fur trimmed robes, and China had to offer products to pay for those furs, and that was tea. Russians got hooked on tea -- as were the Mongols, Tibetans, all nations of Central Asia, iran etc. Tea that trades well at long distances was black and bitter. However, even a relatively small amount of vitamin C reduces bitterness a lot as it reacts with tea tannins (the same holds for another bitter drink, mate, but coffee bitterness is not caused by tannins, so adding lemon to coffee was never popular). The result was that even peasant families would possess samovars for making hot water for tea and brew tea in a hot spot at the samovar top, and would add thin slices of lemons to tea.

As a product needed for the welfare of the working class, lemon supplies were one of Communist priorities, I kid you not. In my youth in Communist Poland, a kilo of bananas and oranges would cost 40, while a kilo of lemons mere 30. The communist blocks produced some lemons, and was getting the rest from barter agreements with India, Brazil etc. In the stores, bananas and oranges could appear and disappear, but lemons were always there.

Of course, a household where lemons are always present would find some other uses. For example, borsch is an ubiquitous dish and it is based on beets that should be fermented for several days to create a sour taste, but in an urban household, beets were sliced, a lemon was squeezed and a borsch would be cooked right away. Fish would always be garnished with lemon etc. In other words, every urban household would use lemons every day, and those slices could add up (I am not sure about villages, there are also forest berries with vitamin C and sour taste, and villagers would collect a lot of them).

As posted on Twitter, the current store price of lemons in Russia is 1 dollar per kilogram, apparently the authorities keep lemon prices low, a tradition inherited from the Communist predecessors. Allegedly, this is the same as average lemon price in the international trade, but (a) Russia has long standing import tradition with low cost producers like India (b) the markup on lemons is low.

That said, it is quite possible that the Russian rich display lemons on their table, but the reasons are not as Harold surmised. In eastern and central Europe there is a strong conviction that the traditional food is healthy, good for soul and body. When my family visited Poland (we lived in USA), it was striking that tourist dominated town sections would have lots of foreign cousines, while the business section would have predominantly traditional food, stuff that "every" household would cook at home.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 17 2019 14:14 utc | 88

Sasha posted, 50:

..for Surkov unveiling all the Russian policy, internal and external, and that is too much asking

Yes, but I couldn’t read beyond it (= between the lines, underneath, etc.), as you say:

Being his personal style of writing most of the time kind of confusing and always sounding like including hided and double meanings/senses

Maybe some stuff went over my head. I failed to grasp a deeper / more intruiging, vital, novel meaning or message.

Jen 54 points out that Good-Gvmt. is based on Trust, sure, like satisfactory business dealings, happy families and solid marriages .. not flash news.

The Saker is potty about Putin and will post anything that idolises the Great Leader (say.)

I’m a ‘fan’, of Putin and Lavrov myself, and have nothing against Surkov, but going overboard on personalia vs. pol / economic systems, resources, geography etc. is a distraction.

If framed properly it is OK: Who is the nicer person, Ocasio-Cortez or Gabbard? Would Megan M. be a better Queen than Kate M.? Etc.

Posted by: Noirette | Feb 17 2019 14:17 utc | 89

@james 37

Do you also agree with donkeytale's glibe comparison of the Putin go ernment to the Nazi Hitler regime and the Trump administration?

Posted by: QuietRebel | Feb 17, 2019 4:18:22 AM | 83

Of course he doesn't agree with that "glib comparison."

Neither do I.

What I introduced was a simile to illustrate my implication that Surkov is hardly an objective observer of the Russian political system and thus not creditable in this instance.

But nice bit of of setting a trap for James to keep him captured within community standards of subjectivity. Lol

Also, y'know, if you have any issues with my comment you could, y'know, raise them with me directly.

I will state that Trump would of course enjoy the comparison with Putin, since he is on record as an admirer, would also love to jail his political opponents at election time (as Putin does), clearly enjoys using his political power to enrich himself (as Putin also does), and surely would love to find a way to circumvent term limits to remain President for life (as Putin does). This last may be necessary to keep himself, his family and flunkies out of prison.

In other notes, LMAO at all the high falutin rhetorical flights of fancy in this thread extolling the Godlike virtues of the Russian people and Putin, the Chinese "Mandate of Heaven" etc.

This is doubtlessly inspired by Surkov's own flight of fancy in his essay. Yes, the Russian people are to be commended for their centuries of struggle to overcome their historically sad socioeconomic plight and of course for defeating the Nazis (don't know how much credit I can give the Russian people for defeating Napoleon---that one seemed much more like a win for the czarist forces of oppression as opposed to liberation of the masses).

Putin is a great leader and statesman, easily the most accomplished on the world scene today. The problem lies not with him necessarily. The problem is with Surkov's fantasy as it infects the usual suspects in this thread, who should know well but will never admit (because their goal is to rhetorically reinforce a prevailing blog narrative rather than strive to attain the synthesis of truth--that is, the honest intellectual pursuit of knowledge through debate, point and counterpoint) that one man can never successfully embody the political system and the political system cannot adequately reflect the greatness of one man --- for more than the life of that one man --- because that one man is not a god and will eventually wither away and die.

Thus the system he embodies and animates with his greatness cannot be replicated indefinitely after he goes, if it can be sustained even with his immediate successor.

This is a lesson obtained from history, religious texts, legends, mythology. Man is weak, evil, greedy, all the seven sins. Someone mentioned the US Constitution was formulated as a defense mechanism against agains the perfidy of man and of course it was! Lol. Imperfect as it is look we can fight off Trump much better than the Russians will be able to fight off a future Trumpkov.

The Chinese could not reach their present level of capitalist/imperialist success until Mao was long gone, his cult of personality repudiated and replaced by a "communist" party from which succession is dependent more on bureaucrats than charismatic leaders.

Hatred of the Evil Empire doesn't automatically confer righteousness to its opponents no matter how flowery the oratory supporting such contention.

Especially when the so-called opponents aren't even truly ideological opponents but in fact erely represent differing spheres of influence and trading blocs, at worst.

Posted by: donkeytale | Feb 17 2019 15:03 utc | 90

donkeytale | Feb 17, 2019 10:03:38 AM | 91

That's an awfully long way of just saying that Russia after Putin is very unlikely to be an improvement along commonly accepted metrics over Russia with Putin, or that whatever Putin has changed will guarantee a modicum of continuity past the next, say, two Russian leaders. Same type of thing for China, but for both you seem to amplify the effects of the few pro-Russia/pro-China posts into more than they are, including a narrative that you attribute to the owner of the blog (b)? And I don't see anyone making the argument that "hatred" of the "Evil Empire" automatically confers righteousness to the adversary(ies) other than perhaps that, given the history, it's nice to see there might actually be some adversaries who may not simply fold and fall in line. They still may, but unlikely.

I kinda wish someone would have talked about - or at least explicitly - the fact that all the praise being heaped on Putin is still just praise for a man and his accomplishments, which to my knowledge don't involve concrete changes to the Russian constitution (or equivalent - not much of a Russia scholar myself) that might serve to "guarantee" (insofar as it's ever possible) that future leaders in his position are constrained or empowered in such a fashion that they are most likely to govern in Putin-esque terms.

I dunno, maybe I should read the essay linked by b, but I can't muster much interest in reading propaganda no matter where it's coming from. To me it's sufficient to know that even if they're just different spheres of influence or competing trading blocs, it's nice that the world isn't necessarily doomed to unipolar US/UK dominance - again, given their sordid history, including the very recent. AND I think it's good that the other side is being presented in such a manner as to reach at least a small western audience given the way the corporate MSM has openly censored any such prose and banned any such thought.

I also happen to think that presenting the other side humanizes the Russians and even Putin and provides a bit of understanding into how they view themselves, all of which and all of the above being helpful in synthesizing a worldview on those matters as well as choosing an appropriate lens through which to view the one-sided, hysterical, often evidence-free, accusations of election tampering, utility grid hacking, and the supposed desire to see "western democracy" toppled, as you might expect to see from someone on NBC or from craigsummers.

Posted by: Mike | Feb 17 2019 16:33 utc | 91

You blame me for misinterpting you comment, but you are the one who added the Nazi and Trump tropes. If you just wanted to make a point about propaganda you you have just posted the first part of your comment,but you went on. Putin is often seriously compared to Hitler,and you expect me to be able to read your mind when you make a comparison of Putin to Hitler. I stand by my original comment.

Posted by: QuietRebel | Feb 17 2019 16:55 utc | 92

Mike, I'm nothing if not

I also tend to add layers of digressions which lengthen my statements but don't help me necessarily because it gives more ammo to attack me on one of those instead of my main point.

I don't disagree with anything you say here. Also, as often happens after I post I notice Noirette has also posted a more concise, better made point right above mine.

Noirette rocks.

The Surkov essay is well worth reading, IMHO and shouldn't be dismissed because it's propaganda. It reads more liek self-justification to me but it has blatant logical/historical issues as Noirette points out.

As for the comments by others who drive in automatic extoll the virtues mode all the time, perhaps it is just a figment of my overheated imagination.

Posted by: donkeytale | Feb 17 2019 17:02 utc | 93

@93. “Putin enjoys using his political power to enrich himself.” Now, you may be right, or you may be wrong, but I am damned if I know how you know. Over the years, the number of times I have been told that Putin secretly owns MTS, Surgutneft, etc etc, that his money is looked after in Zurich (and someone knows his fund managers!). The point being of course is to brand him as a greedy self-serving bandit like all the rest.

I would very much doubt that he keeps wealth outside Russia. Given the theme of this discussion, this is an important distinction. The Panama Papers showed, for example, that Poroshenko has stashed obscene sums of money, presumably looted from Ukraine, in the Caribbean (as have thousands of Russians), so when the time for looting is over, they can go and live the life of rich men in the West.

Putin lives and dies with Russia - there will be no comfortable retirement for him in Switzerland, assuming that he wanted it, which I am sure he doesn’t. The Russians know this.

Posted by: Montreal | Feb 17 2019 17:09 utc | 94

I would heartily recommend Dugin's respond to Surkov's essay. Whatever views one holds for Dugin's various works, this is a very somber analysis.

Posted by: Constantine | Feb 17 2019 17:15 utc | 95


No worries, I'm not blaming you at all, and I'm not asking you to retract or anything. I disagree with you that I was making a glib comparison. In quickly searching for similes I came up with those 2, mainly because I thought they were funny.

Of course, Russia today doesn't compare with Nazi Germany. I apologise if I offended you even though a comparison was not my intent. In my way of seeing the blogosphere, it is always on the writer when the reader miscomprehends. I sought to clarify not blame you.

Quite frankly, the US, China and Russian systems all have much more in common than any of them do with Nazi Germany.

Posted by: donkeytale | Feb 17 2019 17:16 utc | 96

It's important to note that the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan was not an invasion. The legitimate Afghan government requested Soviet military intervention, and the Soviets actually hesitated to send military assistance.

From this phone conversation between Taraki (President of Afghanistan) and Kosygin (Soviet Premier), Taraki says:

We ask you that you extend practical and technical assistance, involving people and arms.

In the phone conversation, Taraki begs for military aid from the Soviet Union, but is greeted with hesitation since "It is a very complex matter", as Kosygin put it.

Russia's cause in Afghanistan and Syria are the same -- fighting terrorism -- but only the former is dubbed an "invasion" when it was a perfectly legal police action (unlike the Yankee aggression against Vietnam) under international law.

Posted by: David | Feb 17 2019 17:18 utc | 97

Grieved @67 and 68

I agree with your understandings but would take them further:

1)"...that inherent genius of Putin to identify with the ordinary people..."

Here I would expand the term to include all the people, the elites as well as the ordinary (supposing that to mean less well-off). It is important to remember that Putin did offer the wealthy a choice - either to leave or be prosecuted, or to use their wealth in service to the nation. Surov doesn't just mean 'deep nation' to be the earthy folk - he wants every stratum included, and that is what makes it such an all-encompassing enigmatic force. It would include Putin's political opposition as well as the old vestiges of the communist state. All of these are being given the opportunity to contribute, just as all ethnic communities do. And each will be at one point or another asked to sacrifice - as for instance seniors with respect to their pensions - when the need arises. The difference here is that they are not being 'told' this is what is going to happen, like it or lump it - they are given detailed explanations and apologies that this needs to happen for the short term to enable the long term to happen - how different this from what goes on in the US when it comes to state policy![to be continued]

Posted by: juliania | Feb 17 2019 17:28 utc | 98


In MoH doctrine the people are an agent of Heaven. Surkov’s Deep Putin(tm)/Putinism is an agent of the People. That’s why I write @ “Les gens, c’est moi”).

MoH Dynastic change includes war/foreign intrigue. That is dangerous in today’s world. Under MoH, for example, a Color Revolution stoked by foreign interests becomes a divine manifestation.

Immediate context: It seems to me that there is still much resistance to the turn away from the West, despite it’s being forced upon Russia. Many Russian elites could benefit greatly by a reversal. These elites form a competing ‘Deep State’.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 17 2019 17:29 utc | 99

Montreal - Correct, it is difficult to know for certain how much wealth Putin has accumulated and of course the fact that he has accumulated much wealth in his position would make him no different from others in his situation, just less transparent.

Obama and Clinton for two. Trump for three.

Still, it is ludicrous to believe Putin has rejected the trappings of immense wealth in a state which functions largely on crony capitalism. And love him or hate him, Putin has some immensely wealthy cronies in his orbit.

But of course he will not be retiring anywhere but Russia, not sure where you pulled that inference from? I'm pretty sure he has at least one nice home (of course not listed in his own name) in which to live out his golden years in a style few others alive will ever experience.

Posted by: donkeytale | Feb 17 2019 17:33 utc | 100

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