Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson

#12 - JRL 7172
No. 7
May 2003
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]

The Russian elite and their groups of experts are pondering the principles of sovereignty in the world after the catastrophically rapid fall of Saddam Hussein. In jurisprudence sovereignty is tracked back to Latin "Supraneitas," where the meaning of "supra" is clear; it is defined as the ability of power that makes it supreme (hence "supremacy"). Sovereignty can have two intertwined forms: national and state.

National sovereignty, or sovereignty of the people, means that only the nation/people is/are the basis of statehood and the source of state power. State sovereignty means that state power based on the sovereign will of the people is independent of everyone in domestic and international relations.

The Russian Constitution of 1993 seals the principle of sovereignty in both forms (Point 1 of Article 3 and Point 1 of Article 4). It is a fact thaple of Russia has long ceased to be the basis of statehood and the source of state power. Power in Russia is held by those who snatched raw materials and federal information channels in 1991, who liquidated the parliamentary republic in 1993, stole the people's money in 1998, and launched the creation of "a military- democratic society" (definition of political scientist Gleb Pavlovsky) in 1999.

To them sovereignty means the guarantee of personal security, personal power and personal prosperity. I mean several thousand (no more than that!) politicians, financiers and their families. They rule from behind the scenes, leaving to their political technologists the task of creating myths about "the political vertical" and "political sovereignty." The key elements of these myths are false ratings, constant monitoring of and issue of "extra feed" to the expert community, and strict control of the energy system and social payments.

These people have made Russia the hostage of their goals and interests and the guarantor of their security.

Saddam Hussein tried to make the Iraqi people hostage to his personal security. This is what allowed the Americans to question his "sovereignty" and to deliver the strike. At the time of trouble the Baath party betrayed the Iraqi people, who rose against the aggressor, and negotiated surrender. Such elite groups have a price; they are too "human," meaning that they have only their own interests at heart.

The same can happen in any part of the world where power is separated from the people.

Why did not Saddam and Milosevic strike back at the cities of those countries that turned their cities into rubble? Because they thought only about their own safety and sovereignty; they did not really fight wars but limited themselves to parades and "intimidating statements."

In the modern world sovereignty is passing over from the elite to the new political subjects, for example such armed movements as Hezbollah. These can always strike back and the Americans will think twice before attacking military-political subjects that have sovereignty, because they know that this would endanger American cities.

Supra-state structures such as the EU are gaining relative safety but their security depends largely on the number of their member states. In mid-April the EU became larger by several members. Fighting against Europe would mean fighting against democracy and freedom. Who would dare attempt it?

States with the old system of power, such as Iraq, can be occupied nearly with impunity, as their elite is always ready to surrender and negotiate - if the new masters of the world allow them to do it.

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