Anatomy of the Russian Power


  • Alexandre Kukhianidze, Professor, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University


Rashism, Russian Power, Russian Authority


After attempts to transform the Soviet Union and its subsequent collapse in 1991, Russia went through a difficult period, which, according to various estimates, on the one hand, is characterized as democratic transformation, and on the other hand, as chaos, oligarchic rule, and rampant organized crime and corruption. With the growth of authoritarian tendencies in governing the country and a rollback to a management style, Russia's new period began in the 2000s. It is associated with Russian organized crime, the Bolshevik style of suppressing dissidents, the NKVD methods, the aggressive foreign policy style of the Russian Empire, and in some cases, the brutal style of Nazi Germany. The monstrous scale of corruption in Russian state structures has repeatedly been the subject of investigations by political opponents and civil society representatives. As a result, some were killed, while others were imprisoned for many years. The treacherous attack of Russia on Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the brutal bombing of Ukrainian cities, the torture and execution of civilians, the rape of women, the creation of so-called filtration camps, and other heavy war crimes committed by the Russian army in the occupied territories, are unprecedented since the Second World War. The prohibition in Russia itself of the independent media, the persecution of political opponents, prison sentences for criticizing the Kremlin's policies by its citizens, and the mass exodus of Russians from the country gave grounds to international experts to talk about the formation of a fascist regime in modern Russia, often referred to as rashism. The purpose of the study is to explain how the current Russian political regime originated and what it is today, taking into account the political processes of 2022. In this regard, two modern Russian political development stages are considered. First, the consequences of "perestroika" under the first and last President of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev, and processes of criminalization and oligarchization after the collapse of the USSR in 1991. Second is the restoration of the authoritarian style of government in modern Russia. The very purpose of "perestroika" was the liberal transformation of the Soviet Union, which, however, led to its complete collapse. One can agree with the point of view that in the conditions of the Cold War, too low oil prices were the final chord in the confrontation between East and West. However, the collapse of the USSR occurred not only due to the inefficiency of the Soviet system but also because of the strategy of perestroika itself, with its “glasnost” (not economic reforms) at the forefront. Following the example of China, which proclaimed the New Economic Policy (NEP) with Chinese characteristics, reforms began in the field of economy. However, the ideological and political system remained without significant changes, as a result of which, while maintaining political stability, the country achieved rapid socio-economic development. As a result, after half a century, the volume of China's economy surpassed that of the United States, and the Chinese totalitarian political system gradually transformed into an authoritarian one. China has become the United States' main rival in the international arena. In contrast to such a strategy, the Soviet policy of “glasnost” led to a crisis in the ideological system and, as a result, the abolition of Article 6 of the Soviet Constitution on the leading role of the Communist Party in Soviet society. This meant a crisis and collapse of the Soviet political system and, as an inevitable consequence, a crisis of party management of the economy and an economic collapse, which, in turn, caused the mass impoverishment of the already poor Soviet population and the aggravation of ethnopolitical and civil conflicts, a significant part of which led to bloody wars in Chechnya, Abkhazia, the Tskhinvali region, Transnistria, Nagorno-Karabakh. A fierce struggle for power with the use of armed forces in Moscow itself, in an attempt to seize power and resign Mikhail Gorbachev in order to return to the Soviet past, led in 1990 to the transfer of Kremlin power into the hands of Boris Yeltsin and the signing on December 8, 1991, of the Agreement on the Creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which stated the cessation of the existence of the USSR as a subject of international law and geopolitical reality. The post-Soviet stage is not only a transfer of power from the Soviet to the Russian leadership but the collapse of the entire Soviet ideological, political and economic system, including morality, discipline, and the rule of law. This period is characterized by two main trends: the chaotic attempts to create a market economy in Russia and the emergence of an oligarchy, as well as newly organized crime groups that swept Russia in the 1990s, which led to nostalgia among the older generation of Russians for a primitive but calm Soviet way of life. A significant part of the political processes in Russia turned out to be heavily dependent on its leaders. In this regard, the leadership of St. Petersburg, the outgoing President of Russia, Boris Yeltsin, and the Russian oligarchs in the change of power and promotion of a new candidate for the presidency of Russia is considered. The usurpation of power in Russia and the use of criminal methods for its retention from 1999 to the present, as well as the nature of this power during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, are analyzed here.