Essay / Politics

Russia is Dying

Let me speculate outside the “normal box” for a moment.My assumptions:Russia is in deep trouble. The War on Terror has justly caused us to turn our attention away from the giant bear in the North. However, an aging population combined with a large Islamic population is going to lead to problems in the near future. Communism and secularism are failed gods. Western democracy has too often been linked to corruption and mob rule. There is a building anger and frustration in the country.Putin is not the answer. He is more a Kerensky figure holding together a government for which no Russian would be eager to die. Economic progress is there, but it is not widespread enough. If the Western economies catch a bad cold, the Russian economy will die. Eventually, we will catch such a cold.Problem:The frightening thing is that in circumstances not unlike the ones now present Russia has suffered through periodic horrid rebellions and blood lettings. The rule of the socialists in the twentieth century was just the worst of these terrors.Something must be done to avoid this. The dangerous, ugly right is rising and only the power of genuine Russian religion can help avoid it taking power in a reign of blood. This anti-Semite and dangerous group has little appeal now, but I believe in the economic crisis that is bound to come that its appeal will grow. This is the worst possible outcome.Outside the Box Speculation on a Solution:Spain showed the way to avoid this problem. The monarchy was restored in a constitutional system. A king was appointed with liberal values. King Juan Carlos helped save a sane Spanish state during a time of crisis. What far-right party could attack their Catholic King?In the same way, Putin should do as Franco did and work to restore the monarchy. A liberal, Western European Romanov, or near relative, could be found and offered the throne. (Would any of the Windsors become Orthodox? Oh the fun!)A British style constitution (1910 Britain?) could be adopted. The Orthodox Church could be given a special status (again like modern Britain) while other religions are given full freedom of worship. (This might be better than the present situation on the ground where too often non-Orthodox groups face discrimination from Russians afraid of losing their culture.) The monarch chosen must be carefully chosen to be “progressive” (good in this context) and not an anti-Semite. Again Juan Carlos (not Charles of Britain) must be the model.This would allow for a strong center in Russia, but also allow for the Duma to continue to develop. Most important, it would reduce the power of the dangerous right in Russia. Would anyone on the far right revolt against an Orthodox tsar in Petersburg? Islam had good relations with the monarchy historically. The Romanovs were a disaster for Jewish persons, but one can trust they have learned something in exile. Indeed, one can hope that Putin would demand it.If the situation in Russia could continue to develop democratically, then such extreme steps would not be necessary. However, Russia is already in danger of stepping back. I think the likely governments that will result from the next crisis will be far worse than anything I have just described. A constitutional monarchy and a strong Orthodox church with a vibrant Duma(allowing for a diversity of religions and ideas) would have the cultural clout to survive the thunder rising on the right.Of course, this is an extreme solution. One can hope that the present Russian state can muddle through and the worse case will not happen. However, there is not much democracy in present Russia and diminishing hope of freedom.The Spanish situation points to the fact what a strong figure could do to save a nation from a civil war by restoring the organic history of a nation broken by the “last time of troubles.” Putin must act to save Russia before the non-organic, incoherent Russian situation leads to a civil war or blood letting on a massive scale which will bring a far worse government. Does he have the power? Putin cannot save Russia except by using his moment of power to create a stronger, more democratic, and more Russian government model.

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