December 4, 2015 -
crimson alter, PolitRussia -
Translated for Fort Russ by J. Arnoldski
“A lesson in political alchemy from Vladimir Putin”
Perhaps the main feature of today’s address by Vladimir Putin was his emphasis on the fact that Russia and Russians need to change. The year 2015 is coming to a close, and this year was very important in terms of understanding who we are, where we are going, and what we want from the political leadership of our country.
After the momentous year of 2014, when the elite and the people together decided that it is time for the country to regain the status of a superpower, it was very important to ensure that we, the country, the people, and the political elite, are ready to pay for history. Independence, self-esteem, and the right to decide one’s fate are very expensive. The calculation of our enemies was simple and pragmatic: the Russians, realizing that one can’t lay on soft cushions for eternity, will prefer the dream of parmesan and black bread than being builders of a great empire. After all, the most recent incarnation of the Russian Empire was betrayed in exchange for jeans and Coca-Cola - well, what can be worse than parmesan?
This time, the script didn’t work. Over the course of 2015, Russians have not repented of their choice, and the Russian managerial elite have finally consolidated themselves around the president. In word and deed, Russia has confirmed its application to participate in the redivision of the world order. The decision to return Crimea was made and secured. There is no turning back and not it is possible to talk seriously about global stakes, goals, and methods of accomplishing them.
Putin very clearly outlined that we live in a time of the creation of new trading blocs and the development of new breakthrough technologies, and the position of Russia in the context of these processes will determine its future place in the global division of labor. Occupying a decent place in the world of the future is the main challenge for our country.
Despite the howls of liberal and pseudo-patriotic propaganda, the Russian government is persistently trying to inform the public of one very important idea: there will be no “hot war.” Liberal-Westerners are frightening society with the prospect of a preemptive strike on the United States and demand that we surrender won this basis. Pseudo-patriots are whipping up hysterics and are frightening society with the inevitability of a global “hot war” for which Russia is allegedly not ready. They blame Putin for the lack of “mobilization,” but coming from the mouths of pseudo-patriots this only means that they are unhappy with the fact that Putin does want to support on a life basis an ardent, bawling blogger and is not personally giving them a Mauser and the right to kill his personal ideological opponents.
There will be no hot global war, as in present circumstances this would result in causing unacceptable damage to all participants. We have to live and win an era of hybrid wars which measures the value of the military, economic, technological, and informational components of the enemy.
In order to occupy a worthy place in the post-war structure of the world, Russia needs to change, to transform, and grow out of itself. The President did not recall Mendeleev in vain. The text of the presidential message is some kind of “periodic table of Putin.” Vladimir Putin marked those elements one after another which will shape the future of our country.
These elements should be considered in more detail.
Self-esteem and Tranquility
These two elements should be inextricably linked and balances, otherwise our opponents will be able to carry out successful provocations with serious consequences against us. If we are too calm and do not react to external stimuli, then they will beat is with impunity, and if we maintain our self-esteem only on the basis of emotions, then we will repeatedly fall into traps and look as stupid as Erdogan looks now. Once again,the audience is presented with a proprietary formula of Putin - “cold revenge without nonsense” - which the president clothed in a humorous form:
But if someone thinks that, having committed a despicable war crime, the murder of people, that they will get away with only losing tomatoes or some limitations in construction and other industries, then they are deeply mistaken. We have more than once reminded them what they have done. And they have more than once not expressed regret over their actions. We know what we need to do in this case.”
The army and military-industrial complex
Even the strongest economy in the world is not worth a dime if its financial strength is not interlocked with military force. The president publicly thanked our military and defense officials, as it is through their efforts that Russia is maintaining itself in the small and elite club of states which have the opportunity to independently decide their own destiny and defend their interests in any place on the planet.
The Russian army and military-industrial complex are clear evidence that the evolutionary approach of the president in solving complex national problems is working wonderfully despite a lack of “show elements.” This is a very important point which is completely ignored by many commentators. After each speech of the president, a sigh of disappointment sweeps through social networks - those who are sighing are are the fans of “executions on Red Square” who are sighing at another missed opportunity to “finally do things right.”
Look at the army and the military-industrial complex and compare it with what we had 10 years ago. If 10 years ago a futurologist would have predicted that the military would become prestigious, its bullying would be eliminated, and the army of the Russian Federation would become modern, prestigious, and reputable in good fashion, no one would have believed him. In the best case, they would have said something like “if all the generals are imprisoned or shot, non-commissioned officers are dispersed, and generals’ summer homes are bulldozed on TV, then yes, something can and will change!”
Putin is a very unique master of achieving evolutionary changes without ostentation and campaign and organization “grinders” which easily run out of control and begin to "grind" even the innocent and even their own creators. In the army, there were reforms and hundreds of imprisonments and resignations that the media chose to ignore due to the fact that it was impossible to arrange a show of this. As a result, this is seen among the public as some kind of surprise. “Our long-awaited wonderful army has appeared!” is exclaimed by those particularly gifted pseudo-analysts who even try to convince the public that this magically happened in spite of the efforts of the authorities bent on “collapsing the defense of the country.” The point is that the army was taken care of for many years without hysterics, but nonetheless stubbornly. The result is obvious.
The situation with the military-industrial complex is similar. There were no public hysterics and campaigns, but rather there as long and hard work which required considerable human and material resources.
Putin’s great service to Russia is that he demonstrated that the country can solve the most difficult problems in an evolutionary, and not revolutionary format. We have yet to appreciate and understand this, but the faster we do, the better.
State capitalism 2.0
If the army and military-industrial complex are the leading fists of our Homeland, than the economy is the gold in its grip. In the conditions of global hybrid war, the borders between civil and military spheres are erased. On the one hand, an expert on security services can be independent in terms of his source of income while guaranteeing that occupied markets will not be burned by the fires of civil wars, foreign interventions, and terrorism. On the other hand, even the ancients said that there are rarely fortresses which can resist donkeys loaded with gold, and this wisdom has been confirmed in the current era of mass bribery of elites and the organization of color revolutions. It turns out that the army is the basis of the economy and money is the most effective weapon.
Today, the president once again showed how the Russian economy should be in order to withstand the period of global hybrid war, and what is important is not even what he said, but what he didn’t say. The “invisible hand of the market,” a wisdom and prudence which so many from part of the Russian establishment and the expert community rely on, has completely disappeared from official discourse.
The hand of the state designed to support vulnerable sectors (construction, engineering, etc.) and providing funds for the development of industry and even buying up to 30% of production enterprises established with the help of special investment contracts, has emerged in the front place. The state will take care of exports with the aid of the Russian Export Center, and it will even secure the purchase of foreign technology and patents which are not affordable for individual companies. Russia is a country of miracles and non-linear thinking, and it can be clearly seen how Russian “state capitalism 2.0” is slowly developing even though, officially, it does not exist.
A few months ago, Vladimir Putin, responding to the criticism from Yevgeniy Yasin, formulated this paradox as follows:
“We known that even in the most market-based countries, countries with a market infrastructure and economy, the role of the state always increases during a crisis. Well always...but we are not going to create state capitalism.”
It turns out that even if there is not state capitalism, the growth of the role of the state in the economy is inevitable.
Everything will be ok with the economy. Not immediately and not quickly, and not simply, but the trajectory is correct. Mechanisms for stimulating and supporting the economy are established, developing, and are gradually cleansing corruption with the help of the All-Russian People’s Front.
Our time is a time of reformatting the existing world order and creating new trade and economic blocs, participation in which determines the future of countries and entire regions. The size of an accessible market determines production potential, and this cannot be escaped. Even the largest countries, such as China, are looking for economic integration in order to increase the number available markets, deepen the division of labor, and make the production chain more efficient. Once cannot isolate oneself, and one cannot pretend that nothing is happening, and it is impossible to make think that no mistakes can be made in choosing an integration project. Kiev made a mistake, and now talking about Ukraine is like talking about the dead. They’re either talked about fondly, or not at all.
Together with Russia, China and the Asia-Pacific region as a whole represent an epicenter of economic growth in our century. Different strategies can be used in relation to the People’s Republic of China. It is possible to build an insulating barrier which the Americans are trying to build around China, but this would be a catastrophic folly. One could pretend that there is no China next to us, but the result would not be so different from the first scenario. It would also be possible to use China’s desire to create a reliable corridor to Europe protecting oneself from the sea blockade of the US. Putin chose the wisest and most profitable option: channeling resource and trade transit flows between Europe and China through Russia. In order to finally lay down the most advantageous scheme for Russia and China, winning the battle for Europe is necessary, and the Russians and Chinese are actively working on this in tandem. A lot of work and huge potential for our country is hidden in Putin’s seemingly dry statement that “in principle, there is agreement on Eurasian integration with the Chinese initiative of an economic belt, a Silk Road."
Speaking of economic integration projects, Putin described another terrifying nightmare for our overseas opponents:
“Together with our colleagues, I propose that the Eurasian Economic Union begin consultations with members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as well as with the states which are joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, on the formation of possible economic partnership.”
Glance at the map. If the Shanghai Cooperation Organization turns into an economic bloc, then it will have the majority of the resources of the planet, half of the world’s population, and its common GDP (and PPP) would be a bit smaller than the EU and US combined. If one counts more honestly, then it would be more than the EU and US. If one connects this project with at least some of the ASAN countries, then the Western world, in the near future, will become the periphery of civilization. This is an incredibly ambitious and very distant goal, but it is quite possible to achieve. The creation of this economic bloc would be the best gift to future generations of Russians.
People are the very element without which all progress is meaningless and impossible. Without “human capital,” any other capital, whether financial or industrial, is nothing. Every individual Russian is the point at which all the elements that the president spoke about converge. For the sake of every Russian, missiles are created, fields are plowed, bombardments in Syria are done, and Russian diplomats overcome difficult situations. Together, we are all the alchemical melting point in which the fire of trials, difficulties, and victories creates an image of a future Russia.
It is a great privilege to watch and participate in the development of the country with an aim for the future, and here it should be remembered that not everything boils down to the material. Yes, material capital, engineering education, affordable health care, macroeconomic stability, and the myriad aspects of the material world are very important, but as a minimum, this is just as important as what the president said in quoting the great Russian scientist and thinker Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleev:
Divided, they will destroy us immediately. Our strength is in unity, in the army, in benevolent nepotism, in multiplying the gains of the people, and in the natural growth of our inner wealth and love for peace.”