October 6th, 2011

“It is money that is emigrating” – and the people, too – as “Brezhnevization” sets in

Dmitri Oreshkin

Academics in Russia are already predicting that the return of Putin will bring a new wave of emigration.

Political scientist Dmitri Oreshkin was quoted in the New York Times saying that the new émigrés will be “those who in the 1990s, because of their youth and innate optimism, believed that freedom would finally come and Russia would become a normal country. The Putin decade sobered them up.”

In addition, Oreshkin noted, “it is money that [will be] emigrating,” as financiers look to invest capital in countries with more transparent business operations.

Meanwhile, Russia bloggers and cartoonists are continuing to compare Putin to Brezhnev, whose long rule, you may recall, Gorbachev referred to as “Era of Stagnation.” But Putin’s press secretary, Dmitri Peskov, welcomes the comparison.

Leonid Brezhnev

“People really are talking about the Brezhnevization of Putin, though this is being said by people who know absolutely nothing about Brezhnev,” Peskov recently told reporters. “You know, Brezhnev is not some sort of minus for the history of our country; it is a huge plus. He laid the foundation of our economy, agriculture and so forth.”

By “and so forth,” could mean restriction of Jewish emigration, persecution of dissidents, communist propaganda, total state control of the economy, central planning and many other well-known features of Soviets. There is perhaps only one substantial and very visible difference between Brezhnevism and Putinism: former did not have such pandemic government corruption.

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