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Jun 21, 2022
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Professor Katasonov: “The Fifth Column” should be called by last name

In the photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin during the plenary session of the XXV St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

In the photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin during the plenary session of the XXV St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. (Photo: Alexander Ryumin/TASS)

President of Russia Vladimir Putin spoke at the plenary session of the anniversary, XXV St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Literally a few hours after that, comments on the speech began to appear in the media.

The main emphasis in most publications on the topic of the speech is placed on that part of it, which is devoted to the president’s assessment of the situation in the world. The president’s assessment is sober and bold. Putin stated that the era of the unipolar world, which began after the end of the Cold War, has already ended. The sharp aggravation of the international situation after the start of a special military operation in Ukraine highlighted the fact that the absolute dominance of the United States in the world is behind us.

The situation in Europe is no better. As the president noted, the European Union “finally lost its sovereignty, and its elites are dancing to someone else’s tune.” As the “decline of the West” (about which a century ago he wrote O. Spengler) his policy is becoming more and more aggressive. The agonizing West is becoming a threat to all mankind.

We see the crisis of the West not only in politics and culture, but also in the economy. The president called the West’s policy towards the rest of the world “predatory colonialism.” For the sake of achieving its ephemeral geopolitical goals, the West cuts the branch of the economy, on which it has been sitting for a long time. The world economic order that took shape after the Second World War is collapsing. The G7 countries turned on the “printing presses” of their central banks and began to rapidly build up sovereign and other debts. Soon these debt pyramids will begin to collapse.

The sanctions war against Russia has finally confirmed that the West and its closest allies cannot be trusted. If they have frozen Russia’s foreign exchange reserves, they can just as easily do so with the reserves of any other state.

In sufficient detail in Putin’s speech, such issues as the causes and goals of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, the impact of sanctions on the Russian economy, the effect of the boomerang from sanctions (the damage suffered by the collective West from the restrictions imposed against Russia) were considered. etc.

The highest note of the president’s speech was his words about Russia’s sovereignty: “Sovereignty in the 21st century cannot be partial, fragmentary, all its elements are equally important. They reinforce and complement each other. Therefore, it is important for us not only to defend our political sovereignty, national identity, but also to strengthen everything that determines the economic independence of the country, financial, personnel, technological independence and independence.” Indeed, without Russia’s sovereignty, it will not be possible to achieve the goals set for the special military operation in Ukraine. Nor can we win the sanctions war that the collective West launched against us on February 24th. It is also impossible to withstand the global economic crisis, which may not start in the West today or tomorrow, and which can cover Russia with its powerful wave if it does not have time to achieve sovereignty.

The topic of Russia’s national sovereignty is the “red line” reached by the President of the Russian Federation in his speech. But he didn’t move on. And how I would like V. Putin to cross the “red line” and say what many expected to hear from him. I was also expecting. One cannot but agree that sovereignty consists of a number of elements, “all of its elements are equally important. They reinforce and complement each other.”

First, what I would like to hear: what is the national ideology of Russia? The foundation of national sovereignty is the national idea and national ideology. It is the beginning that holds people together. Article 3 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation states: “The bearer of sovereignty and the only source of power in the Russian Federation is its multinational people.” Absolutely correct position.

But Article 13 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation states: “Ideological diversity is recognized in the Russian Federation. No ideology can be established as a state or mandatory.” So, we do not have a national ideology, and, as can be assumed, its appearance will be a violation of the Constitution. Without it, the call for national sovereignty remains a wishful thinking.

Second. In his speech at the SPIEF, as well as in his other speeches, the President of the Russian Federation speaks the right words about social justice, which also holds the people together, and, therefore, creates conditions for the establishment of Russia’s national sovereignty. But all these words hang in the air, since social justice can be established only by changing the socio-economic model of today’s Russia. But, unfortunately, the head of our state does not touch on the general assessment of this model, he only allows himself to criticize its individual aspects. Moreover, I have never heard him mention the name of this model – “capitalism”.

And the general law of capitalist accumulation (one of the main economic laws of capitalism) says that the result of such accumulation is the concentration of wealth at one pole of society and the concentration of poverty and misery at the other.

In his speech, Putin formulated proposals for correcting egregious individual manifestations of injustice: “Already this year, it is necessary to achieve a reduction in the level of poverty and an increase in the income of citizens, this is the main indicator for assessing the authorities.” “I instruct to take drastic measures to support families with children.” But even if these instructions of the president are executed (which is hard to believe), then after some time the inexorable operation of the law of general capitalist accumulation will level the results of all these private measures.

Social injustice does more than undermine national sovereignty. It negatively affects all aspects of social life. For example, the work of a hired worker enriching an oligarch cannot be efficient and creative.

The thought arises that, being the President of the Russian Federation, Putin protects the inviolability of the capitalist structure of Russia.

Third. Today, Russia is subject to economic sanctions imposed by the collective West. This is a sanctions war that has been going on for almost four months now. Even if hostilities in Ukraine cease in the coming months, the economic war is “for a long time and in earnest.” And we still do not have an economic strategy for Russia. We didn’t have it before (they said that, they say, the liberal market economy “self-regulates”, it doesn’t need a strategy or plans). But, today, in the conditions of war with the collective West, we need economic mobilization. And it is impossible without a strategy and long-term directive planning.

In the early days of the sanctions war, there were reactions on our part that can be called tactical decisions. I mean, first of all, Presidential Decree No. 79 of February 28, 2022 “On the Application of Special Economic Measures in Connection with the Unfriendly Actions of the United States of America and the Foreign States and International Organizations that Adhered to It.”

Also, Decree No. 81 of March 1, 2022 “On additional temporary economic measures to ensure the financial stability of the Russian Federation.” Everyone was waiting for the Strategy to appear after some time. Didn’t show up. Moreover, a number of subsequent acts emasculated the originally correct spirit of the two decrees.

The history of military affairs shows that the success of “hot” wars is determined not only by the number of soldiers and weapons, but also by the right strategies. Waging an economic war with the West without an economic strategy threatens us with a loss.

It is noteworthy that in March-April the government of the Russian Federation held a number of meetings on the issues of adapting individual industries and industries in Russia to the conditions of the sanctions war. Some of them were attended by the President of the Russian Federation. At meetings, Putin gave instructions to government officials to develop strategies for the development of relevant industries and industries (with dates before June 1 or July 1).

The last instruction of the head of state to officials was given at a meeting to support the Russian automotive industry as part of the SPIEF on June 16 – to develop a new strategy for the development of the domestic auto industry (until August 1).

The fundamental principles of public administration have been violated.

The economic strategy of the state involves goal-setting, a set of means, algorithms and schedules for moving towards the goal (goals). And if there is no strategy, then it is impossible to use planning. Let me remind you that in 2014 the Law “On Strategic Planning in the Russian Federation” was adopted. A very correct and necessary law. Eight years have passed since its adoption, but it still remains unclaimed. And if there is no strategic (long-term) planning, then there is no current planning (annual, quarterly, monthly).

Fourth. I have already noted Russia’s unpreparedness for a sanctions war. He also noted that in a few months, presidential decrees No. 79 and 81 turned out to be largely emasculated. But let’s remember that the right decisions on preparations for a big sanctions war were made back in 2014.

Then the first sanctions volleys from the West thundered (after Crimea became part of Russia). And then import substitution programs were adopted for the period up to 2020 in 23 areas (industries and industries). And they all failed. The most interesting thing is that neither the government nor the president conducted any “debriefing” about these programs. Everything was put on the brakes. We have not heard that at least one of the officials was fired for the failure of import substitution.

One of the main officials responsible for import substitution is the Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov (in this position since 2012). At the forum in St. Petersburg, he told everyone how to understand import substitution correctly. It turns out that this is not necessarily the replacement of an imported product with a domestic one. He proposes from now on to consider that import substitution can be considered the replacement of a product imported from one country with a product imported from another.

Now I am talking not only and not so much about import substitution, but about the irresponsibility and impunity of officials. Everyone knows that a simple and reliable indicator of the responsibility/irresponsibility of officials is the execution/non-performance of instructions from the government and the president. From this point of view, perhaps 99 percent of senior officials should be classified as irresponsible.

By the way, Vladimir Vladimirovich quite often began to use the term “fifth column”, but he did not name any names. Alas, the President did not name names at SPIEF either.

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