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The Impending Crisis in Russia:

How will Putin Seize Power?

Berkeley, 12-6-07

Draff, 3:30am

Reading back into Putin's recent political manipulations, and then, even further back, at how Putin seized, consolidated, and has used power in Russia, it is apparent that Putin will shortly seize power in Russia.

The groundwork has already been established. Putin was just acclaimed as Russia's "national leader," and this incredible announcement was strongly reinforced by his overwhelming parlimentary victory.

Putin has been deftly complimented these power grabs by craftly positionioning himself as if he was aiming to become a constitutional "power behind the presidency" after his constitutionally limited term ends.

I seriously doubt that Putin's public pronouncments reflect his actual plans.

Many astute observers would say that Putin has already seized power, but that is not completely true. Putin, like Russia, has not consolidated its new identity, nor how it will justify power. That moment is still in the future, and Putin's moves in consolidating, and how he justifies institutionalizing long term power will define Russia's actual post-soviet identity.

This is not the Soviet Union, but the Soviet notions about the structure and holding of power still perpeturate themselves, but under different terms of legitimacy.

The underlying terms of identity being established in Russia are disturbing. The post-Soviet re-creation of Russian identity has bred the elements of Russian neo-fascism. The disturbing elements in the birth of "New Russian" identity is the backwash of the retreat from the Soviet Empire. This has expressed itself through intolerance of ex-Soviet minorities who now live in Russia.

This has also expressed itself n the streets of Russian cities. The gangs of the Russians and neo-nazis are indistingishable to outsiders, but they apparently understand the different reasons they beat the same people.

"New Russia" is no longer based on a unifying idea that trancends nationalism, as both commie and capital societies require, but is transitioning to an identity based on national and racial identities.

Now, I'm not saying that's the only powerful force operating in Russian society today, but it is the most powerful force..

Putin is playing it all the ways possible; he's consolidating parliamentry power, while pursuing constitutional amendment to extend his power, while maintaining the bueracratic and military authority required to maintain power, independent of the success of his parliamentry and constitutional efforts. Popular support will be consistent, independent of which path Putin takes to maintain the Presidency, or "national leader," or whatever title he decides to take.

The chances are that Putin will succeed in all his domestic efforts to first maintain authority, then move towards reshaping his authority as he reshapes Russia's identity, in conjunction with reshaping Russia's relationship with the west, and especially the us.

I'll have to work this idea later, as it's real late, but Bush has exposed our strategic global assets not just by overextending our military, stressing our Euro allies to the breaking point, alienating our Arab allies, and removing the restraints of the global Rule of Law from every tin-plated dictator in the world, he has provoked Russia. That could be Bush's worse mistake.

Putin may find that the heights of power he is able to create will reflect the average Russian's perception of the outside threats confronting Russia. Serbia, the Ukraine, the stans, and the whole belt of post-soviet states that straddle Russia's soft underbelly have freaked the Russians out, and heavily contributed to the consolidation of post-soviet nationalism in Russia.

Tomorrow: Russia's likely future in the emerging new world balance of power.