Political Farce Russian-Style: Putin Complains About Corruption

19 Nov 2019

(EDM) Russia is often described in the West and by its own “non-systemic” opposition as a police state and an autocracy, and with good reason. The suppression of street protests in Moscow last summer was demonstratively brutal, but it was also ineffectual and counterproductive. The monopolization of political power by the Kremlin is also heavy, but President Vladimir Putin is often reduced to acting as an arbiter in the feuds between clans of siloviki (security services personnel) and other interest groups. It is corruption that makes the regime work and keeps the elites obedient to the often capricious arbiter. Indeed, another accurate designation for Russia’s political order could be “militarized kleptocracy.” Thus, Putin’s anger and exasperation last week (November 11), at a meeting with government ministers about persistent corruption at the Vostochny cosmodrome, came off as hypocritical at best. Despite the systemic foundations of corruption under Putinism, the Kremlin leader complained that the Russian spaceport’s managers “were told a hundred times” to work transparently to complete construction at the site, but instead they continue stealing “hundreds of millions” (Kremlin.ru, November 11). [...]

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