I’m not assuming anything, but it’s nice to dream.
Vladimir Putin’s social compact with the Russian people is clearly defined: Putin agrees to give the Russian people rising living standards, jobs, regular pensions and economic stability. In return, the Russian people look the other way as Putin and his inner circle steal the country blind, destroy alternate media, and suppress all internal dissent. Those who witnessed (as I did) the economic chaos, unpaid pensions and salaries, runaway inflation, and harassment by mafia and petty officials of the Yeltsin years understand the appeal of Putin’s social compact. But Putin is no longer keeping up his end of the bargain. Will the Russian people continue to look the other way? That is the question.
Putin has not held up his end of the bargain he made with the Russian people. Let’s see what their reaction will be. We must assume they can put two and two together.
—Paul Roderick Gregory, “Ruble Hits New Low—Putin Can’t Keep His Promise to Russian People,” Forbes, December 16, 2014
Actually, literally everyone in my class last night, most of whom have something to do with business of some kind, have put two and two together quite easily, judging by what they were saying. (And some of them invoked the unwritten “social compact” Gregory refers to, above.) But this was also combined with the usual native fatalism, as if it were impossible to imagine anything beyond or better than the now totally bankrupt rule of the “world’s most powerful man.”
Mind you, it is one and the same über-capitalist magazine that has these contradictory wishes: hoping ordinary Russians can muster a resistance that it wouldn’t be happy to see in most other places or under different circumstances.
Image, above, courtesy of Law, Gospel: Action