Staunton, March 5 – Vladimir Putin has achieved a real but Pyrrhic victory with his policy of hybridity domestically by transforming Russia into “one gigantic and bestial special service” and internationally by infecting other countries with the distrust and division that are at the foundation of his own, according to Tigran Khzmalyan.
But however large his victory appears at present, the Moscow commentator continues, it is doomed to be short-lived because of the resources of the West. Tragically, however, many are going to suffer until those resources are mobilized and focused on defeating the infection Putin has promoted (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=58BBACBA2C632).
“The hybrid policy of the hybrid state in Putin’s Russia means precisely the complete swallowing up of all state institutions and mechanisms by the punitive and diversionary special services,” Khzmalyan says. More than that, “it means the transformation of the state itself into one gigantic, bestial special service.”
That gives Putin some short-term advantages because other countries “do not understand that they are dealing with an entire state” that is nothing more than a special service because they aren’t willing to acknowledge that “all Russia is one single gigantic special service,” especially since that was not the case even under Stalin or Brezhnev.
The Soviet leaders not only controlled the special services but spoke with the people in an ideological language that had the effect of limiting what the regime could and couldn’t say. Now, there are no limits; and that has left many in Russia and abroad uncertain as to how to read what is going on.
“Under Putin,” Khzmalyan says, “a revolution of morals has taken place. License and the absence of punishment, illegality and the lack of conscience of the transitional pot-Soviet period of the 1990s, so aptly called ‘illegality,’ suddenly has turned out to be not something to be ashamed or and rejected but rather has crystallized into a new state system.”
Words and declarations no longer have any meaning and individuals can shift from one thing to another with impunity. But what is most horrific about this, the commentator continues, is that this approach is perfectly consistent with and near to the hearts of “the wide popular masses,” as the regime refers to the population.
“In other words,” Khzmalyan says, “what has occurred is a bestial intermixing of the worst inheritance of the former Soviet power with the worst genetic material of the former Soviet people.” And it is “no accident” that a mid-ranking chekist has “headed this ‘revolt of the hybrids’” – or as the commentator says, to use a Russian rather than Latin term, “bastards.”
“The phenomenon of Putin’s popularity,” the commentator argues, “consists in the fact that in comparison with any other Soviet or Russian leaders, he is someone whom the most numerous and least educated strata of the population most easily and most willingly can identify as one of their own.”
It is “precisely” Putin’s “grayness, his lack of clear individualization, its unusual ethical ‘flexibility,’ and even his typical visage which makes him the ideal feeding ground of this new cult of personality in which the subject of the cult is not a personality but namely its absence – the hybrid product of almost a century-long experiment in negative selection.”
Unfortunately, Khzmalyan says, “this hybrid has one awful quality about which people in the outside world are only beginning to guess. It is infectious. A militant lack of principles, hypocritical stupidity and cynicism elevated to the rank of state policy, total lies and corruption, constant focus on and search for weaknesses and failures of others” – these and other features have a long history in the Soviet security agencies. Now they are spreading across the world.
In the last 15 years – the period of Putin’s power – the world has seen numerous examples of leaders following the same path: Gerhard Schroeder of Germany, Silvio Burlesconi of Italy, Marin le Pen of France and the current US President Donald Trump; and as the leaders go so too do their countries.
“Blackmail and bribery, bribery and blackmail, the old instruments of all secret services, have turned out to be unbelievably effect when they are used not simply by a government special service but by something never before seen in world history” – a state that has been swallowed up by the special services which now have its resources at its disposal.
“Putin has won in that he has infected the entire world with the virus of universal distrust and division, of everything is permitted and of cynicism … He has sowed the poisonous seeds of doubt in the main values of civilization … [and] in this sense, Putinism is comparable to the attack of the Vandals on Rome or of the Turks on Constantinople.”
The Western world as a result, Khzmalyan continues, is thus “split apart and polarized. There is no former ‘Atlantic solidarity,’ no former unity about the main European values of rights and freedoms of the personality, of openness and mercy. This is an undoubted victory for Putin – the victory of greed over altruism, nationalism over tolerance, cynicism over idealism, human weaknesses over the power of the common good.”
There is only this good news: “It will not last long: Europe over the course of centuries is much stronger than any bull and no longer will allow itself to be kidnapped. Europe and following it America will again focus and take up the banners of freedom and solidarity.” But alas “this will take time and involve victims.”
“The victims,” Khzmalyan concludes, “will be the weakest and most defenseless countries and peoples on the territories of which now has broken out the latest battle between freedom and tyranny.” Putin and tyranny have won this round; but they are fated to lose the next.