#9 - JRL 7205
May 30, 2003
THE STATE AND THE OLIGARCHS
The National Strategy Council predicts a coup d'etat in favor of tycoons
Author: not indicated
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]
THE NATIONAL STRATEGY COUNCIL, WHICH UNITES INFLUENTIAL RUSSIAN POLITICAL SCIENTISTS, HAS PUBLISHED ANOTHER REPORT WHICH PREDICTS A COUP D'ETAT IN RUSSIA AND THE ADVENT OF AN OLIGARCHIC REGIME SIMILAR TO VENICE OF THE 13TH-18TH CENTURIES. HERE ARE THE MOST INTERESTING EXTRACTS FROM THE REPORT.
The National Strategy Council says the Russian government will acquire a new historical quality when it stops acting as "a committee for tycoons' affairs".
Oligarchy is the power of the few. In these terms, a Russian tycoons is not necessarily a businessman: he is an individual who meets certain criteria of the ruling caste. In particular, Roman Abramovich, Mikhail Fridman, Oleg Deripaska, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Vladimir Potanin, Andrei Melnichenko can be considered tycoons unlike Vladimir Yevtushenkov, Kakha Benukidze, Oleg Kiselev, Anatoly Karachinsky...
Representatives of Russia's present ruling class are inclined to believe that the interests of the majority of the population should not be taken into account while forming and formulating the state strategy and the system of corporate strategies.
Strengthening of the power hierarchy has substantially decreased the feudal segmentation of the Russian economy and politics - at the same time, it has cleared the way for tycoons' groups to capturing profitable regional businesses, reduced the abilities of regional authorities to defend their protege businesses from "unfriendly" mergence.
The current Russian government - Mikhail Kasianov's Cabinet - is cowardly in its rejection of any strengthening of state regulation in the economy, under the pretext of being unwilling to increase corruption.
"The ruled democracy" based on shady manipulating different elements of the state mechanism discredits and deprives of essence any legal form of the state regulating, cardinally decreases the independence and responsibilities of state bodies shifting all the responsibility for the state functioning on the president. In fact, it creates space for behind-the-curtain transactions and agreements for the sake of influencing groups.
Hence, the state is hiding behind liberal rhetoric and is currently failing to fulfill even the "night watch" functions while clearing the way for increasing the power and influence of tycoons.
The major economic strategy of oligarchic groups is to seize or buy up profitable businesses with the help of administrative resource (it is an exception when new businesses are created). An important new phenomenon is forming stable inter-oligarchic alliances, for example: Basic Element + Sibneft + Alpha-Group + YUKOS. A new core for political-economic influence is formed which creates premise for a cardinal increase of influence and transforming oligarchy into a political system.
Tycoons have retained "exclusive" relations with the state bodies despite the declared "distancing principle" - they still have their people at all levels of state administering.
Under the cover of the "distancing principle" thesis and with absence state game rules, tycoons are settling private game rules that more and more determine the real conditions of political and economic life in the country, and consequently, the instability characteristic for any period of absent convention.
Oligarchic regime in Russia has cardinally limited the vertical social mobility compared to the 1990s - which is always a sing of forming a pseudo-aristocratic state and an upcoming bourgeois revolution.
At the beginning of 2003, a new trend in the "tycoons - the state" relations has become obvious. Tycoons concluded that currently, after the completion of the initial privatization, the institute of presidency is no longer a guarantee for the stability of the ruling class but rather a potential source of threat for the latter. Simultaneously, the conclusion on the qualitative "final" inefficiency of the present political elite as a source of ruling personnel for the country has been made. In these terms, representatives of the key subject of the ruling class also concluded that it is necessary to establish their own power and large business union. This means tycoons should be directly promoted to the key state positions.
As from the viewpoint of the ruling class, the presidential institute has fulfilled its historical mission and is no longer needed, tycoons have decided to restrict the authorities of the Russian president and transform Russia from a presidential republic into a presidential-parliamentary republic (a quasi-French model).
The major ideologist of this transformation has been YUKOS leader Mikhail Khodorkovsky; other representatives of the tycoon pool support him directly and indirectly (Roman Abramovich, Oleg Deripaska, Mikhail Fridman).
According to the tycoons' plan, the new government can be formed in Russia in 2004 which will be controlled and monitored by the parliament. The "oligarchic modernization" course is leading the country to a dead-end - dominating tycoons are depriving the country of any prospects for state-political and social-economic development, leads it to backwardness, social-political degrading, and a breakup of the state. An oligarchic coup d'etat is very logical for this course.
The national objective is to deprive tycoons of their unjustified influence on the development of the country, of their super-profits, abilities to expert influence on state power bodies, state administration at all levels, political parties, the intellectual elite, and experts.
In order to resolve the issue of changing the character of development of the country requires a cardinal strengthening of the Russian state that will meet the interests of fair, dynamic, and effective development of the country.
A real alternative is raising a new, effective state that would be able to change the course of social-political development, form new state objectives and corresponding social mechanisms.
Today, the development of effective federalism, distinct distribution of rights and responsibilities between the Federation and regions, expansion of regional independence is a part of the general movement for increase the effectiveness of the state.
Transformation of the Russian state will require much time, the technique for raising a new state stipulates establishment of small state agencies that will carry out strictly determined local state functions and are run by personally responsible individuals. As a result, this technique can create real reformers who will prove the possibility of functioning of an effective state; these successful reformer will receive a public mandate for ruling at a higher level.
(Translated by Arina Yevtikhova )