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Reblogged:Nothing Changes in Russia

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Is Putin about to fall? Will it really make any difference if he does?

Your guess is as good as mine. Russia might trade one thug, Vladimir Putin, in for another, Yevgeny Prigozhin -- or some other low-life to be named later...

Or not.

It might be worth a perfunctory chuckle or two if the country didn't possess an aging arsenal of nuclear weapons. It makes me think of a soap opera about drug-addled degenerates having an ugly fight over a valuable that the "winner" will pawn off at the first opportunity.

Russia, like a violent, alcohol-fueled street person, may be pathetic, but that doesn't mean it can't hurt you.

One Objectivist intellectual very nicely summed up the news coverage leading up to the weekend's (non-)events:
The fundamental reason for the silence on unrest in Russia is that the intellectuals believe in the potency of evil and the impotence of the good. So, it goes against their sense of life to consider vulnerabilities in dictatorships.
Agreed. They believe in Putin's alleged "4-D chess" the same way populists do Trump's. There is no "there" there. There never was and never will be.

That said, I spent some time looking at Ayn Rand's commentary on her native land and found two quotes in particular that pretty well explain the blustering up top and the indifference below.

First, we need only remove the term Soviet from the below quote to freshen it up, as the whole Ukraine invasion and the quick march to Moscow -- by a few thousand mercenaries! -- would indicate. The below comes from Rand's commentary on the Cuban Missile Crisis, which was, when she wrote it, still a "question mark suspended in fog:"
Image by the Government of the Russian Federation, via Wikipedia, license.
The results of that declaration [by President Kennedy] were an eloquent proof of what the more perceptive of us had been saying for years: that Soviet Russia's alleged power is a gigantic bluff, built up by the concessions of her adversaries -- that Russia, like Nazi Germany, like any bully, feeds on appeasement and will retreat placatingly at the first sound of firm opposition. ("The Cuban Crisis," 1962) [bold added]
Rand was speaking of how quickly Russia shrank back after -- and the free world rallied around -- what at first appeared to be a stand for our right to exist as a free nation.

And, while she was speaking of Russia's power to command respect on the world stage, it applies equally well to its military power.

Moving along, leave it to our clueless media to not only have missed Russia's weakness, but to be puzzled by the indifference of the people of Rostov-on-Don, who went about their usual routine under their short occupation and even posed for selfies with the mercenaries and Prigozhin himself.

Again, I ask what difference is there, really, between Putin and Prigozhin, especially to people already resigned to being ruled by thugs? Rand has interesting commentary from the time of the Revolution, when there was a real difference between the sides:
In a passive, indifferent way, the majority of the Russian people were behind the White Army: they were not for the Whites, but merely against the Reds; they feared the Reds' atrocities. I knew that the Reds' deepest atrocity was intellectual, that the thing which had to be fought -- and defeated -- was their ideas. But no one answered them. The country's passivity turned to hopeless lethargy, as people gave up. The Reds had an incentive, the promise of nationwide looting; they had the leadership and the semidiscipline of a criminal gang; they had an allegedly intellectual program and an allegedly moral justification. The Whites had icons. The Reds won. [bold added] (The Ayn Rand Letter, vol. 3, no. 24)
I don't know what, if anything Prigozhin stands for, but Putin is a holy roller who regards himself as being on a mission to revive some mystical conception of Mother Russia. (To the limited degree I understand this, he's more against the nutty Western left than he's really for anything anyone is going to rally around. There might be a lesson here for Republicans, if they had a grain of sense...)

I usually despise the saying, The more things change, the more they tay the same. Too often, it's an excuse to give up, and not at least deliver a verdict of disagreement with a bad state of affairs. But here, I think it is quite descriptive of Russia, which has stagnated for centuries under mysticism -- of both types, emphatically including communism.

Until and unless its people change their minds, they will continue living subhuman lives as the subjects of the likes of Putin and Prigozhin.

-- CAV

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