Home Featured-Spot-2 Putin’s Russia: No Right, No Law, What Remains is Violence

Putin’s Russia: No Right, No Law, What Remains is Violence

The incident in the skies over the Tver region in the Russian Federation, where a plane crashed (as a result of an air defense missile or an explosion inside), which could have been carrying Yevgeny Prigozhin – the head of PMC Wagner – should not be viewed through the prism of particularities.

This is an illustration of the complete elimination of institutions, laws, law and ethics of political procedures in Putin’s Russia. All of the above are meaningless conventions for the beneficiaries of the current political regime. One of the Russian propagandists said it very correctly a couple months ago, in the spirit that: law is not a biblical dogma, and if it interferes with the goal, it can be ignored. This is extrautilitarianism and Redbird’s concept in his marvelously fascist essay Survival of the Fittest. Actually, this is exactly what Vyshinsky, the Prosecutor General of Stalin’s Russia, said in the 1930s: in hard times, the law can interfere with goals and if necessary, we will ignore it.

Frankly, I don’t care whether Prigozhin is alive or dead, whether his death was staged or whether he was really on board. What matters is this: this regime has become so brazen that even a formal demonstration of compliance with the law is a mere formality that can be ignored in order not to waste effort. Putin’s spokesman, Mr. Peskov, actually said it in plain text: there is no point in spending money on elections, it is a waste of money. The regime has fully entered the zone of totalitarian violent dictatorship.

There is nothing extraordinary or unusual in the way Putin is dealing with his opponents. All totalitarian dictatorships are characterized by the fact that from time to time they force laws created by themselves to solve the tasks set by an elite group or person – just remember Stalin’s Constitution….

However, the Prigozhin case highlights Putin’s totalitarian regime from the general historical and procedural patterns of the nature of totalitarian regimes. The voluntaristic use of violence is explicitly and deliberately demonstrated, while actually denying its constant use as a norm! Hitler’s Germany officially adopted a body of regulations and laws legitimizing violence as a norm of National Socialist policy. In Stalin’s Russia, there were officially adopted procedural norms for violent investigations, troika courts that sentenced people to be shot without an adversarial trial, and other savagery that was nevertheless legalized.

In Putin’s Russia, with the exception of a few repressive laws, repression and violence are the norm against the backdrop of a constitution and the basis of the basic legal codes that are fully adequate to a state of law.

When there is no public ethic of following the norms and rules established by custom and formal legislation, everyone can behave according to his or her own and or the group’s notions of morality, which, in the absence of institutions and under conditions of prevailing archaic ethics, are formed sporadically and are characterized by a high potential for atavistic and therefore potential and uncontrollable violence.

Putin acts in this way – in accordance with feudal and atavistic notions of good, evil, betrayal, reward and punishment.

Archaism and atavism are among the main definitions of the policies of dictator Putin, who has decided that there are no greater limits to his actions. But like most successful dictators (and Putin is successful, for he has been in power for 24 years), he is based on the sentiments of the majority, what is commonly called the people, while simultaneously shaping those sentiments. Any sociologist or an anthropologist knows that these are interdependent components of one homogeneous process. The approval of the majority, which is achieved by any means – from sophisticated propaganda to direct coercion into submission – is an important factor of self-consciousness and the dictator’s confidence in his rightness.

In reality, it is simple biology: the need to retain power over a group is easier when there are no rules and institutions, but there are physiological stimuli and motivations: fear, joy, the desire to be protected, the desire for cohesion… Putin has simply sent Russia on the opposite path – to the prevalence of animal over human, in his own image.

The peculiarity is that Putin simply kills people, without special official explanations or actually ignoring official laws. Even in Hitler’s Germany, all atrocities were based on an appropriate regulatory legal framework, specially created to enable these atrocities to be committed.

Putin’s Russia is a kingdom of crooked mirrors, where “everyone understands everything”, where it is possible to kill people and not even try to provide a legal basis for it. All these “formalities” are replaced by total propaganda of national greatness and infallibility of the dictator.

Putin has finally killed any institutionality, rules and procedures, albeit cannibalistic or barbaric, but necessary for the life of a society – a somehow ordered aggregation of individuals on a limited territory…. Even colonies of baboons and even higher primates – chimpanzees – exist within the framework of developed norms, rules and customs.

Putin’s violence, particularly the shooting down of the airplane with 10 people on board, however, demonstrates: institutions, rules and norms are what I will now call rules and norms, but I am not obliged to follow them. They are for the population that serves my interests, but following even these norms does not guarantee your safety in any way – all these rules will be forced on you if it happens to be necessary to destroy you.

This is not autocracy. This is atavistic fascism of the personalist type, where there is no law, there is obedience. This is modern Russia. Rightly comparing it with Hitler’s Germany, we can say that in the Nazi state there were laws and norms that were strictly observed, and therefore there was a certain right of appeal.

In Russia, there is no longer any right or law. There is nothing to appeal to.