- Nov 22, 2003
It's been obvious that something has been going on with Russia for years now. Always in the background the fact that Putin was 'former' KGB was lurking. In the past year to year and a half, the weird has been getting louder. This is the first realistic piece I've seen on what may be going on or at least where to look:
0:36 GMT +00:00
A new model: the secret-police state
Economist.com | NEW YORK
A RUSSIAN friend whose insights I admire came up with a persuasive formulation the other day. Russia, he said, was now a secret-police state.
Not a police state, of which there have been many examples down the centuries. Nor a military junta, likewise. But a secret-police state, which is a rare and perhaps even unique animal in modern times. You might have tried to pin the same tag on the Soviet Union, but in the end you would have had to concede that there was a party and an ideology in charge. The KGB was a powerful instrument but not a master.
Now the post-KGB is the master of Russia, and we have to guess what that will mean in policy terms.
The post-KGB men have no ideology or morality to speak of, so no clues there. The population and political institutions are no check on them. But what do they want? If their overwhelming priority turns out to be making themselves personally rich very quickly, that points to one set of behaviours. If their overwhelming priority is to maximise the power of Russia in the world, that points to another set of behaviours...