I’ve written before that For Russia the 90’s Were Worse Than WWII, both when it came to loss of sovereignty, loss of human life and loss of industrial potential.
The Saker, an astute analyst, published not long ago an article Putin’s biggest failure, in which he describes the dynamics and the forces that were active in the 90s and, which are still partially present in the Russian political life. The Saker describes the continued presence of this 5th column as one of the Putin’s failures.
I do not entirely agree with the formulation. Rather, I view this as an event yet to happen. Observing Putins moves, one can come to a conclusion that he, like a doctor, is guided by the principal of “don’t do harm”. If an intervention into the political system brings more harm than good, then he’ll wait for a more favourable time. In this case, the threat is unsettling a delicate political balance in Russia, which it just re-acquired after the Wild 90s.
The beginning of the article below, highlighting is mine.
Whatever happens in the future, Putin has already secured his place in history as one of the greatest Russian leaders ever. Not only did he succeed in literally resurrecting Russia as a country, but in a little over a decade he brought her back as a world power capable of successfully challenging the AngloZionist Empire. The Russian people have clearly recognized this feat and, according to numerous polls, they are giving him an amazing 90% support rate. And yet, there is one crucial problem which Putin has failed to tackle: the real reason behind the apparent inability of the Kremlin to meaningfully reform the Russian economy.
As I have described it in the past many times, when Putin came to power in 1999-2000 he inherited a system completely designed and controlled by the USA. During the Eltsin years, Russian ministers had much less power than western ‘advisers’ who turned Russia into a US colony. In fact, during the 1990s, Russia was at least as controlled by the USA as Europe and the Ukraine are today. And the results were truly catastrophic: Russia was plundered from her natural wealth, billions of dollars were stolen and hidden in western offshore accounts, the Russian industry was destroyed, a unprecedented wave of violence, corruption and poverty drowned the entire country in misery and the Russian Federation almost broke up into many small statelets. It was, by any measure, an absolute nightmare, a horror comparable to a major war. Russia was about to explode and something had to be done.
Two remaining centers of power, the oligarchs and the ex-KGB, were forced to seek a solution to this crisis and they came up with the idea of sharing power: the former would be represented by Dmitrii Medvedev and the latter by Vladimir Putin. Both sides believed that they would keep the other side in check and that this combination of big money and big muscle would yield a sufficient degree of stability.
I call the group behind Medvedev the “Atlantic Integrationists” and the people behind Putin the “Eurasian Sovereignists”. The former wants Russia to be accepted by the West as an equal partner and fully integration Russia into the AngloZionist Empire, while the latter want to fully “sovereignize” Russia and then create a multi-polar international system with the help of China and the other BRICS countries.
What the Atlantic Integrationists did not expect is that Putin would slowly but surely begin to squeeze them out of power: first he cracked down on the most notorious oligarchs such as Berezovskii and Khodorkovskii, then he began cracking down on the local oligarchs, gubernatorial mafias, ethnic mobsters, corrupt industry officials, etc. Putin restored the “vertical [axis]of power” and crushed the Wahabi insurgents in Chechnia. Putin even carefully set up the circumstances needed to get rid of some of the worst ministers such as Serdiukov and Kudrin. But what Putin has so far failed to do is to
- Reform the Russian political system
- Replace the 5th columnists in and around the Kremlin
- Reform the Russian economy
The current Russian Constitution and system of government is a pure product of the US ‘advisors’ which, after the bloody crackdown against the opposition in 1993, allowed Boris Eltsin to run the country until 1999. It is paradoxical that the West now speaks of a despotic presidency about Putin when all he did is inherit a western-designed political system. The problem for Putin today is that it makes no sense to replace some of the worst people in power as long as the system remains unchanged. But the main obstacle to a reform of the political system is the resistance of the pro-Western 5th columnists in and around the Kremlin. They also the ones who are still forcing a set of “Washington consensus” kind of policies upon Russia even though it is obvious that the consequences for Russia are extremely bad, even disastrous. There is no doubt that Putin understands that, but he has been unable, at least so far, to break out of this dynamic.
So who are these 5th columnists?
I have selected nine of the names most often mentioned by Russian analysts. These are (in no particular order):
Former First Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais, First Deputy Governor of the Russian Central Bank Ksenia Iudaeva, Deputy Prime Minister Arkadii Dvorkovich, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, Governor of the Russian Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina, former Minister of Finance Alexei Kudrin, Minister of Economic Development, Alexei Uliukaev, Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov and Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev.
Please read the complete article and comments to it at The Saker.
As a post-scriptum, a remark to the fragment from the above article that “Russian Federation almost broke up into many small statelets”. Nikolai Starikov in his videoblog #68 at 44:23 demonstrates a collection of “Ural Francs” – money that were printed in 1991 in anticipation of the break-up of the Russian Federation into such statelets.
UPDATE 2023: The channel of the historian Nikolai Starikov has been at some point deleted by YouTube, so here is an image of the pseudo-money he demonstrated: