It’s been 32 years since capitalism came to Russia. Starting with Gorbachev’s reforms, which legalized entrepreneurship on the 5th of February 1987, capitalism reigns wild in Putin’s Russia. Bureaucracy has evolved into wild capitalism and a lot of party members have become democrats and criminals. In modern Russia, everything that must belong to the people in common is owned by the omnipotent government, in which power is held by a large group of friends from the 90s. In this article, I would like to reveal how this kleptocratic capitalism developed in Russia and how dangerous it is.
A huge issue of wild capitalism
When criminals ate up all of the markets in Russia, it became impossible to do legal activities. But when apex predators can’t find prey anymore — survival of the fittest starts.
Putinism has legalized many illegal activities but, in doing so, gave power to a small number of Putin’s friends. Viktor Zolotov, who was the personal bodyguard of Boris Yeltsin and Putin, now owns Rosgvardia — the militarized organization which terrorizes kids and women at demonstrations. This and similar moves have concentrated economic and political power into a few hands and created a hidden form of monopoly.
The worst fact about this monopolism is that the basis of the Russian economy is the extraction of rent in the broad sense. Someone concentrates natural resources, someone a budget, someone import-export, someone something else. And it belongs to 1% of the whole country while over 30 million people live for less than $150 per month. Saying that the Russian experience is simply the “wrong capitalism” means that you laugh at the millions of poor citizens kept down by the effects of capitalism. A lot of them are retirees and most likely were good engineers, social workers, scientists, or blue-collar workers with a lot of experience. The criminal state doesn’t care about society because they are more anti-social than depressed alcoholics and drug addicts. This too has become a common attribute of Putin’s dictatorship. Vodka companies and drug mafias are the closest friends of the corrupted state — all of them are offenders.
The absence of any significant resistance by the elites to Putin suggests that the elites perceive the Putin regime as a logical continuation of the Yeltsin regime. Those people from the 90s supported the ideas of free market and privatization and now they love patriotism and state corporations. The main purpose of their life — to put more into their pocket – has remained the same. The party will say — we will be for democracy, the party will say — we will stand up from our knees.
Russian society is now atomized. Wild capitalism created a hopeless society where everyone lives egoistically. Only people with great optimism try to self-organize and help each other. Egoism is what the rich feed to us. Russian people have always been altruistic but wild capitalism has cut off our oxygen. The rich corrupted our mindset. Mutual aid and collectivism became taboo and today’s lifestyle of the middle class (which is dying out) and upper class perfectly represents this.
Loneliness and depression have become the two main aspects of modern life. Capitalism was only made to entertain 1% of the whole population by the exploitation of the other 99%. Sometimes we can’t see it, but the Russian experience tells it perfectly. Some of them from the upper class openly laugh at people and call them “cattle.” They’ve created a situation where free speech exists for them, but it’s punishable to question or insult officials. Even touching a Rosgvardia officer can cost 6 years in jail.
What I’m telling is only the part of the truth. I got in trouble with the police a lot of times and I’ve seen intense poverty around the streets. Kleptocracy means that your future will be stolen in the favor of gods and masters. Monopolism means that they declare their force over you. Wild capitalism means that social elevators will never open up to you and the people you love.
Here, fear is stronger than love. That’s why we should fear kleptocracy and monopolism: to remember that you will always be weak without unity in this world. Always remember this love when you feel weak.