Oct 19, 2021
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Emperors and the President: Putin is compared in the West with both Nicholas I and Alexander III

Photo (left): Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Photo (left): Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Photo: Alexey Druzhinin / Press Service of the President of the Russian Federation / TASS)

The fact that in Russia absolutely all cats were born with Vladimir Putin, in our country, half-jokingly, half-seriously, they began to talk in 2015. Following this, after a short time, there was talk about the revival of the monarchy in the Russian Federation.

At first, they were also perceived as absolute irony, but after the leader of the LDPR Vladimir Zhirinovsky raised this idea on his rhetorical shield and even voiced his intention to rename his party to the liberal-monarchist, such assumptions cause not only good-natured-skeptical grins.

Until a certain time, all this was a kind, but exclusively internal political Russian “trick”.

Recently, however, more and more foreign historians are joining the game on the theme “compare the president of Russia with the monarch.”

One of the last to speak in this vein was the British historian Simon Sebag-Montefiore.

“In my opinion, in many aspects, Putin is more like the late representatives of the dynasty Romanovs, Nicholas I and Alexander III… Putin has never made mass murder an element of his method of government, ”he stressed, in particular, in an interview with the Polska Times, noting that the Russian president is a skillful politician who has every chance of staying in power longer Stalin

– This is a rather idiotic, in my opinion, comparison, perfectly shows that English and Western historians in general understand the history of our country very one-sidedly, freely pulling arbitrary moments out of it in a favorable light for themselves, – shared his point of view in an interview with SP regarding this statement Director of the Foundation for Historical Research “Osnovanie” Alexey Anpilogov… – On the one hand, both Nicholas I and Alexander III entered Russian historiography as inveterate conservatives and fighters against free-thinking, one harshly suppressed the Decembrist uprising, and the other took revenge on the Narodnaya Volya for the attempted murder of his father.

However, if we set aside the ideology of confrontation of “fiery revolutionaries” with “reactionary tsarism”, then we will see that both of these monarchs carried out very serious reforms. The same railways began to be built under Nicholas I. Alexander III launched a powerful program for the colonization of Siberia and Altai, laying a powerful foundation for the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway, which united the entire empire.

Yes, Nicholas I lost the Crimean War, but this was only a tactical defeat for Russia, which in the end did not slide to the level of China, during the “opium wars” of the same time, having actually lost its independence. Alexander III, having created the most advanced army and navy for his time, won the Russian-Turkish war, which was of much greater importance for Russia. And, if he had not undermined his health, actually keeping a railway carriage on himself while rescuing his family members in a train accident, Russia, you see, would not have gotten into an adventurous war with Japan at the beginning of the 20th century.

“SP”: – And how did Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin get into the company of “evil emperors-conservatives”?

– The figure of Stalin, traditionally painted in the West exclusively in black, should also not be viewed exclusively from the point of view of conservatism. For some reason, abroad they prefer not to say that it was under him that a nuclear missile project was created, which even during his lifetime led to the appearance of a nuclear bomb in the USSR, and soon after his death – also a hydrogen one. Under Stalin, our aircraft industry was created, which is still moving Russia forward. And indeed, all of our present industry owes its appearance to Stalin.

He is accused of actually “breaking the backbone” of the Russian peasantry, but one must understand that similar processes took place much earlier both in England and in the United States.

Remember how in Great Britain, in the process of fencing, “the sheep ate the peasants,” and in the USA they killed bison and Indians. To make an industrial breakthrough, all countries sooner or later had to go through the destruction of the conventional “old world”, and in the USSR this process took place much later than in the West.

Yes, the “Stalinist regime” is accused of the GULAG and the famine in Ukraine, but this is the result of the fact that the industrial breakthrough of the USSR had to be made later than other countries in very cramped conditions. It’s the same with modern Russia. You shouldn’t look at her so one-sidedly.

“SP”: – How – so?

– There is a rather tendentious point of view that Russia exists exclusively thanks to oil and gas. But Russia is not Saudi Arabia for you, everything is much deeper here. Russia is included in the list of the largest world powers not only in terms of territory, but also in the degree of development of its industry.

Yes, Russia has a lot of problems. But the main, strategic one, is that the current population of the country is not enough to make a new industrial breakthrough, to move further into the future. There are projects that can bring humanity to a new level of development, but they imply that at least a billion people will take part in their implementation, and not 140-150 million.

In the late 90s, we came close to participating in one of these – in the project of the “collective West”, but there we were offered exclusively the role of a raw material colony, that very China during the “opium wars”. And, to the credit of Vladimir Putin, Russia did not integrate into this project.

“SP”: – Therefore, Western historians “take revenge” on Putin, comparing him with the most “reactionary”, in their opinion, the rulers of Russia? Is Russia really doing well with Putin?

– Our own project of similar development, the Eurasian Economic Union, is still stalled, as a result of which Russia has remained in limbo for at least 20 years. This creates great difficulties for the country, because it has to spend not on development, but on preservation. So the problem is not whether there are mass killings in Russia or not, but that the country all this time does not have a clear image of its future.

This is the main question of “Russia after Putin”. Because a certain stability is ensured by the current Russian government, but there is no talk of development. This is a very difficult question, it will finally become clear where the country should go, not tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. But it is important to understand that the time for making a decision is rapidly running out.

And from this point of view, – suggested political scientist Dmitry Oreshkin– Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin will hardly remain in the memory of the people as the most effective, so to speak, political manager of the country.

During the last two terms of his reign, there has been a dilution of what was accumulated by the country during his first two periods of presidency, which were undoubtedly highly successful. Moreover, the speed of this very erosion is gaining and, in my opinion, will continue to gain momentum, although there is a great chance to remain, perhaps, one of the most advanced rulers of the country, and at the same time in the eyes of all representatives of our political currents, from the liberal community to national patriots , he certainly had.

From a purely technical point of view, it will not be difficult for Vladimir Putin to be re-elected in 2024. But, in my opinion, this will not be the best model for the country. The system that has formed during all this time can only exist as long as the majority of the population applauds any initiatives of the authorities, fearing a repressive reaction. If this is of any benefit, it is only for those who are at the top of the vertical of power.

“SP”: – Is it possible that even such an extreme recipe as “dear Russians, I’m tired, I’m leaving” will not help in 2024?

– I don’t think it will help. First of all, because regimes similar to those that have now emerged in Russia are strong only in that, first of all, they do not allow the emergence of any political counter-elites, mercilessly burning out any hints of this. Take at least a mode Lukashenka, even though the mode Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov – there is not even close there anyone who could claim the role of a real political rival. So there is simply no one to offer any alternative concepts of Russia’s development.

In addition, the current political Russian regime is well aware that as soon as it ceases to control the media and power structures, it risks almost immediately sharing the sad fate Muammar Gaddafi… And this scares him very much, because the new political elite is likely to be more intransigent towards the current one than the current one towards the first president of Russia. Boris Yeltsin, who was not touched after his voluntary departure from the political arena, in my opinion, solely by virtue of the observance of the tacit “gentlemen’s agreement”.

After such statements by experts, it becomes clear that, purely mathematically, Vladimir Putin will be able to “sit out” Stalin without any problems. But whether Russia will say “thank you” to him for this, and whether he will leave behind a legacy comparable to the legacy of Russian emperors is a very big question.

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