The police operation in the Ukraine is at a standstill at the moment except in a few areas along the various fronts. The Russian army slowly, gingerly advances into the cities, cutting off sections controlled by the enemy like a kolbasa, piece by piece. Civilians fleeing the city of Mariuple have to run the Azov gauntlet with many refugees sharing accounts of being shot at and terrorized. The “nats-bat” fighters aren’t keen on letting their hostages escape. Azov, by the way, is largely composed of Russian-speaking easterners from the Dniepopetrovsk and Donbas regions. An unusually high percentage of them appear to be former prisoners or career criminals and their use of satanic and Nazi imagery begins to make more sense when you factor this in. This all, of course, makes perfect sense if you read the previous article on the Ukrainian swamp, but jars with any set narrative promoted by one side or the other. Make of this factoid what you will.
But civilians aren’t the only ones trying to escape the conflict. We’ve already talked about the celebrity caste and the journalist caste so it makes sense to spend some time now on the oligarch caste, that is on the people that finance and support Liberal Democracy in Russia (or any Democratic country, really).
The background of this story should be well-understood by now so I hope that I can avoid going into it again in any detail here. But, just to make sure that everyone is on the same page and up to speed, the story goes something like this: a pro-Western faction of Soviet party elites imploded the USSR. Nationalized assets became private i.e., up for grabs overnight. Communist Jews called up their capitalist cousins in New York who sent briefcases full of dollars to buy up state assets for pennies; a new caste of Jewish oligarchs rose up to rule the country thanks to the inept drunken rule of Boris Yeltsin; Vladimir Putin emerges as a compromise leader — a puppet of both the KGB and the oligarchs —someone who would be pliant and obedient; the new president surprises everyone and turns on part of the oligarch faction and starts arresting them while simultaneously crushing a CIA-funded Chechen uprising. Putin begins systematically consolidating his own power base and not relying on the United Russia party. An uneasy détente develops between the rest of the oligarchs and the office of the Presidency. Putin gives a speech denouncing a treacherous 5th column within the country that needs to be “spat out” like a “midge/fly” stuck in the country’s teeth. This is where we stand now — all caught up and eagerly anticipating what comes next.
Of course, Putin isn’t the only one talking about coups and subversion — one simply has to turn Fox News or MSNBC on to hear American senators and political pundits openly expressing their hopes that the oligarchs will overthrow Putin. We mentioned this in a previous article — this was the preferred strategy for dealing with Russia adopted by the Deep State and there is little indication that their plans have changed. The sanctions on Russian oligarchs appear to be an attempt to light a fire under their behinds and get them agitating for his overthrow and replacement with a Navalny-like puppet. Frankly, I don’t know how anyone doesn’t see or understand the nature of the plot at this point. Lindsay Graham as much as spilled the beans when he literally compared President Putin to Caesar and called for a Brutus to rise up and murder him. What’s more, the story of the Roman Senate vs. Caesar is the archetypical example of the eternal conflict between authoritarianism and oligarchy. I would go so far as to say that these are the only two forms of government and all other models simply lie on the spectrum in-between the two diametrically opposed ends.
In an Autocracy of any kind, be it a dictatorship, a military takeover, or a monarchy, there is one man who assumes immense power. He may have gotten there democratically or through military action or by birth. Once in power, there is little reason for him to leave, so Autocrats rarely do. Given the option, the masses would prefer and even use their right to a plebiscite (if they have one) to elect a strong, charismatic leader with unlimited power who can assume the mantle of their champion. Even Liberals have no problem admitting this preference of the people to be the case, and they simply resort to chastising the masses for their bad behavior and believing in the false siren cry of Populism. To the proponents of Oligarchy, the masses frustratingly do not share their concerns about checks and balances or so-called Liberal Democratic values and principles. The people want real solutions to their problems and they view (rightly) the tangled and corrupt system of jockeying interests and factions that any Oligarchy sets up (checks and balances) as an obstacle and an enemy. Naturally, they will attempt to appoint an Alexander the Great of sorts, a people’s champion, to cut through the Gordian Knot of graft if they can. If he proves to be good at his job, the masses would prefer that he stay there because they may not get another chance to push up one of their own to power.
But let’s put the political theorizing aside for now and see what the Russian optimates have said about the situation themselves. A recent Bloomberg article came out which had Jewish oligarch Mikhail Fridman lamenting the fact that the sanctions were imposed on him and his friends and amounted to him pleading for Washington to relent, arguing that neither he nor his friends had any real pull or power over Putin. Without information indicating anything to the contrary, we may as well take his words at face value — Putin’s position is strong and consolidated. So far, there hasn’t even been so much as a whisper of sedition from any serious potential contender for the position of a modern-day Brutus. This is probably because Putin has decided to make public examples of people who took to social media or the streets to show their support for Ukraine with immediate arrests, fines and incarceration applied liberally (heh!) by the police and the FSB.
Meanwhile, the private jets continue their mass exodus to Israel, Cyprus, and the Gulf States. When asked to comment on the travails of the oligarchs, Dmitry Medvedev blithely replied that perhaps these individuals shouldn’t have invested and stashed their money in the West and added that he himself didn’t have any condos in Miami or villas in Italy. He then no doubt shrugged before whispering “You get what you f*cking deserve!” while pointing a finger-gun at the camera and mouthing “pow” with his lips…
Alright, I embellished a tad on the last part. But the attitude from the Kremlin has certainly been one of showing absolutely no mercy. You either get with the program and support the military intervention and showdown with Russia or you out yourself as a fifth column traitor. In fact, many of Russia’s optimates have openly and publicly sided with Putin. These are the so-called “Putin-aligned” forces in the country and we will have more to say about them in a subsequent article.
The key takeaway here is that the almost two decade-long détente within Russia between the pro-West and pro-Russia factions has now been totally shattered. President Putin has made a play to consolidate more power and move the country in the direction of autarchy and autocracy by appealing to the support of the people. His recent speech at a stadium in Moscow was something you don’t see often from him — the last time we saw something comparable was when he appeared on stage after his electoral victory in 2018 and gave an emotional thank you to the Russian people for re-electing him again. But for the most part, Putin has not often utilized mass rallies as a political instrument, preferring to stream conferences with ministers and deliver pre-prepared video speeches. In that sense, he is quite unlike Trump, who built his entire movement on his high-energy political rallies where he would rail on and diss his personal and political opponents for hours at a time in front of a rapturous crowd. His populist appeal to the Russian people was answered in force: the stadium was overflowing and there were massive crowds outside it as well.
With this move, Putin has proven that he has the Russian people behind him.
None of this is particularly surprising or unexpected by the way. There is a natural course to human politics. Just as there are constant process of disintegration and entropy at work, so too are there order-building processes as well. Countries can devolve into the most depraved forms of Liberal Democracy imaginable, but the road back to normality always remains open. The process by which this occurs is as follows: Mass Democracy ====> Populism ====> Autocracy ====> Monarchy.
Given a chance to vote in a national election, the people will support and elect a strong right-wing leader with a populist agenda. This is not speculation, this is simply the result of watching the last several centuries of political trends in the world. After the populist champion takes office, people, at the first opportunity, intend to transfer to him all the earthly power he needs to solve the problems that plague the country. If he succeeds in this, the people will bless him, wish him long years in office, and hope that he comes up with a reliable succession strategy. Few will work themselves up into a lather at the idea that the sacred democratic principle of separation of powers, term limits, and so on are being violated. If you doubt me, you simply weren’t paying attention to the whole “God-Emperor Trump” phenomenon and didn’t notice that die-hard Trumpers were waiting for their champion to declare himself dictator and go to war against the Deep State.
Trump did indeed have his Rubicon moment and, as we all saw, he foundered in the current eventually selling out his own supporters and giving up any real chance to leave a lasting legacy. Putin, in sharp contrast, has already taken Rome. It’s worth mentioning that mercy is a trait especially prevalent in extraordinary men, which, consequently, has been the undoing of many a great man. We can only hope that Putin refuses any stranded optimates begging to be readmitted and pardoned for their disloyalty. Mercy should be reserved for the people, not the treacherous international oligarchic elites who more than anyone else deserve to reap the harvest of our discontent.