General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

What is the reality of Russian hegemony?

Asked by Ltryptophan (9109 points ) December 7th, 2011

My narrow American POV tells me that the Russians are living under some sort of anarchical tyranny.

I would really like to believe that I am wrong, and that the truth is that Russia has a relatively firm grip on domestic security, politics, and its economy.

Does the Russian gov’t know what’s going on in Russia, or is everything over there a cluster fluff?

I have heard now of a Clan War…Crime families…Black Market Nuclear Weapon Sales…Political upheaval…

If half of this is true…

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7 Answers

The_Idler's avatar

replace anarchical with oligarchical, and you’ve got it.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

What I can tell you is that there is corruption at every level of government and some people are aware of it and some aren’t or think it’s not as bad as it is. It’s pretty bad. There are people that are called ‘thieves withing law’ which control a lot.

wundayatta's avatar

It’s not good. They are a very young democracy that has been under dictatorship of one form or another for four or five hundred years. They have generations of attitudes to root out. They are cynical and self-defeating. The fights we see right now to make the election results reflect the true vote is historic. It hasn’t happened on this scale before, if at all.

Ltryptophan's avatar

Well, I am very hopeful for them, but my main question is what is the state of things right now as we write. Do they have a functioning postal system? Are taxes collected in a well regulated way? Are their borders secure? Do the courts have the power to enforce laws?

I could make at least a dozen progressively relevant questions…but I am just trying to get at the big picture. The US has what I call a nation. Relatively secure borders. Complex military installations governed by an executive branch. This works at least as an illusion. I know that we too are some sort of Oligarchy. But let’s not kid ourselves and say that a room full of billionaires who are fighting for dominance is an oligarchy, it probably isn’t even an anarchy, it’s some sort of tribal system???

Is that what is going on in Russia, or is there a central gov’t, albeit weak, that keeps day to day affairs for their entire population in check and moving along. Am I describing the backbone of what any civilization will always be at some level…

Is there a rule of law in Russia? If not then what is Russia besides an amorphous petri dish for dangerous international criminals and terrorists that could eventually become a major liability for the west, if it hasn’t already in ways that are hatching constantly.

Anybody got a big picture? Maybe the CIA factbook is the best bet.

I simply don’t like to have this opinion without some real facts to back me up.

The_Idler's avatar

err, yes, there is a gov’t “running” the day-to-day affairs, if you like.
But it is certainly weak compared to the oligarchs.

There is law enforcement, but it is extremely corrupt at every level and almost completely unaccountable outside the big cities (think Wild West, bad sheriffs, right?)

Don’t forget that most of the country is an empire, ruled by the Rus, who are recent colonizers, and run by their clients/partners such as the Cossacks. That’s day-to-day life for most of Russia, and it has been that way for a couple hundred years now. The development that a few people have made billions from the natural resources, and practically hold government to ransom, hasn’t really changed the facts on the ground for most people.

So while not anarchy (they have a well established social structure in most places), there is certainly severe discontent with the fact that basically nothing changes for most people. And many people are worse off now, than during the communist era.

The discontent is also being exacerbated by the people’s declining trust in the democratic system.
Putin is really losing popularity.

Relevant:
In Russia, the end of an era?
Arrests in Russia after anti-Putin rally

Response moderated (Spam)
sinscriven's avatar

The level of corruption in the current Russian government is appalling, they don’t even try to make it look like a believable democracy anymore.

The recent elections supposedly had a near 100% turnout, and 98–99% of votes went to the United Russia party (who Putin heads).

I do agree that due to Russia’s long history of totalitarian control and corruption that their citizens are more or less cynical and resigned to these power grabs as business as usual.

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