News & Analysis
Putin Replaced by Politburo?
Experts: a new Politburo to lead Russia .... According to the report of a leading Russian think tank, the 'tandem' structure no longer exists. In its place, a group of eight people representing different interests and the balance of which is the guarantor of President Putin. The system of power that governs Russia today is a "conglomerate of groups and clans that compete for the resources of the country"; it resembles a sort of a "Politburo", consisting of about eight people governed by the president, Vladimir Putin. This is the conclusion of the report by the authoritative think tank Minchenko Consulting Group. Released on 21 August, the document states the "tandem" Putin-Medvedev mechanism that characterized the last eight years of the country's political life is "buried", and reveals the exit strategy of power in the event of a serious political crisis. – Moscow (AsiaNews)
Dominant Social Theme: Alone, he stands up to the West, this courageous Russian bear.
Free-Market Analysis: In a recent article we pointed out that we had a lot of trouble with the weird idea now popular in alternative media circles that Vladimir Putin is some sort heroic figure standing up to the West's central banking power elite.
We focused on how Putin had enriched himself by some US$50 billion supposedly during his term in office and how despite his tough talk on Libya, he had not ultimately interfered with the invasion and rape of that country.
We explained that from our point of view Russia was not necessarily a beacon of freedom and that between its punitive penitentiary system and its underdeveloped economy, Russia was not necessarily a state to be emulated. You can see our article here:
As a free-market oriented publication, we thought it was important to point out that as head of a large and powerful state, Putin was surely part of the problem that many people involved with what we call the Internet Reformation would like to see resolved.
That problem, of course, is the worship of the secular state and the idea that the ruthless, warlike workings of Leviathan are preferable to what FA Hayek called spontaneous order, the mysterious enriching mechanism of the marketplace itself.
In the alternative media these days it is fashionable to declaim there is no "market" and that people simply do what they are told. But if one takes a look around, the Internet itself becomes available for scrutiny.
The Internet is a great example of Austrian spontaneous order. When people are left ALONE by the state they can do great things on their own. It may be that Putin and his circle are a valuable counterweight to the Western power elite that wants to run the world but that surely doesn't mean that Putin is an especially admirable character.
Most people are a mixture of good and bad. That's why absolute power corrupts absolutely. Only (marketplace) competition can provide us with the hope of a more optimal outcome. It is competition that is key. No matter how resources are constrained or controlled, if all have access and the playing field is level the result will be far more productive and hopeful than an authoritarian solution.
No man, of course, is an island, as Austrian economics (which has little to do with Randianism) teaches us quite insightfully. Nor is any man a hero to his butler. People are flawed. We should strive to set up discontinuous sociopolitical systems not simply make the rule of one man some sort of admirable and attainable goal.
Now along comes this report that indicates what should already be obvious to anyone with a grasp of how geopolitics actually work. Putin, it turns out, is likely part of a larger Politburo at this point. He doesn't stand heroically alone, nor did he ever. Here's some more from the article:
Led by political scientist Yevgeny Minchenko, the Minchenko Consulting Group says the group of power around Putin is no longer the "vertical" theorized at the time around the same Russian president, but rather a modern Politburo, modeled on the old top body of the Soviet Communist Party, in which the head of the Kremlin mediates between clans, often in conflict with each other.
According to the report, eight are part of the Politburo from political figures to the world of business: Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, the CEO of the oil giant Rosneft, Igor Sechin, Sergei Chemezov, general manager of the holding company Russian Technologies, the presidential chief of staff Sergei Ivanov and his deputy Vyacheslav Volodin, the mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobianin, Gennady Timchenko, head of the powerful oil-trading company Gunvor and the media tycoon Yury Kovalchuk, also known as the Rupert Murdoch of Russia.
Below them, a larger group of about 45 "candidates" to become members of the Politburo, perceived as loyal to the Kremlin and divided into the areas of "business" and "security forces". Among these, potential "leaders" have already been identified, in the event that a serious political crisis should lead to Putin's removal from the Kremlin. These include the liberal former finance minister, Alexei Kudrin, nationalist Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin, and former presidential candidate the oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov.
"Putin is the keeper of the lighthouse, but it would be strange to call him a light," Alexei Mukhin, director of the Center for political information told the Moscow Times newspaper.
These individuals are surely not all standing up heroically to the West. In fact, as others have noted, the basic animating urge of this group is to ensure that the rest of the world blesses their takeover of the reins of Russian power so that they can keep the vast fortunes they have (illegally) accumulated.
We are well aware, of course, of the ethnic argument, as well, that Putin and the others are standing up to rapacious Jews. But this is just as simplistic an argument as the idea that KGB-born and bred Putin is some sort of eternal hero. (There are, of course, those who will doubt the message of the Asia News for other reasons, as we are aware, but it rings true to us.)
Part of this erroneous narrative (in our view) includes the idea that Pussy Riot, the anti-Putin "punk" band (just convicted), is an entirely cynical operation. By seeing what is going on in Russia as simply a "Putin good/Pussy Riot bad" template, alternative media types and free-market thinkers place themselves beside a billionaire authoritarian Intel operative!
A simple reading of Pussy Riot's final statements should convince one that the rhetoric the band uses is (in some cases) eloquent and even inspiring. Now,, it is certainly possible that Pussy Riot are simply CIA agents who are cold-bloodedly conspiring to bring Putin down in order to put into place more cooperative types. But given the Politburo that apparently surrounds Putin, that seems a bit simplistic. At high levels, the colors are invariably shades of grey, not just black and white.
By adopting a simplistic perspective when it comes to this affair, those in the alternative media have accomplished two things. They have taken an adulatory approach toward Putin, who in many ways does not deserve it, and they have succeeded in denigrating a remarkable piece of freedom literature coming from Pussy Riot. For those who believe in freedom, this twin stance does not necessarily put one entirely on the side of better angels.
Life, especially at rarified top political levels, is not simple. The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend, except in the movies. If one is interested in understanding the world as it really is, then one should not easily give in to hero worship. Even the Austrians we admire like Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard had plenty of blind spots and prejudices. So do we all.
One can disapprove of the invasion of Libya without celebrating the reign of Muammar Gaddafi. One can be equally disapproving of the attack on Syria without adopting an adulatory posture toward its Alawite leaders.
In a sense, hero worship is a dominant social theme. It is part of the psychological stance that the power elite wants us to adopt. The whole idea of the great man theory of history is a power elite construct. The great men they want us to believe in are, of course, endlessly controlled by THEM.
One can see this at work in so many ways, even today when it comes to such countercultural symbols as WikiLeaks's Julian Assange. There is, of course, the possibility that Mr. Assange is the freedom fighter he has made himself out to be. But so much information seems to militate against it at this point.
Assange was arrested when young (as a hacker) and went to work for government Intel, apparently. Many of his prominent leaks have proven helpful in the long run to Washington's policies and geopolitical stances. Assange went to work for the elite-controlled Economist magazine, where he won prizes. Later on he insisted on partnering WikiLeaks with such dubious facilities of mainstream misinformation as the Washington Post and New York Times.
His much vaunted philosophical writings about transparency are naive, if you take the time to read them. The whole transparency-in-government movement is being run by a former World Bank president anyway. Also, they are passé, as he has apparently decided to take WikiLeaks in a leftist direction.
Assange has criticized those who are concerned about official explanations regarding 9/11, saying in an interview that he is "annoyed that people are distracted by false conspiracies such as 9/11." His funding is opaque.
There are plenty of other courageous people who never get the attention Assange gets. The obsessive focus of the mainstream media on Assange is yet another false flag giveaway. No one gets that kind of coverage unless the powers-that-be want it to happen.
There are some who say the idea that Assange is an Intel asset has been put about by Intel agencies to discredit him. But we came to a tentative conclusion about Assange almost as soon as he burst on the scene like some prefabricated tech-guru godhead. We didn't need anyone whispering in our ear. It seemed obvious. If you want to read what we've written about Assange, just search the Internet for "Julian Assange" and "Daily Bell."
The power elite seems to us most concerned about what we call the Internet Reformation and the way it has exposed their conspiracy to create global government. In the past few years they seem to have radically increased their production of false flags in order to seize control of the Internet's freedom ideology. Assange, in our view, may well be such a false-flag event.
But in the larger scheme of things any one man is fairly insignificant. The larger psy-op playing itself out is the one that tries to get people to adopt authoritarian elements simply because they are standing up to the evident and obvious conspiracy of the central banking families that want to run the world.
In "Shrink Your Government" we wrote recently:
Put enough pressure on people and they may rediscover the power of community living. They may return to the land and live in extended families within agrarian communities as Thomas Jefferson hoped. Even urban environments may offer local solutions. The alternative, after all, is more of what we've got now.
Decisions may be taken more locally; efficient private solutions could be substituted for ruinous public ones. People living in this way may find the vocabulary to reject punitive tax levies, ruinous fiat-money inflation and the whole phony war-on-terror narrative that the elites are relentlessly promoting.
We should focus on what will make our own communities, families and personal lives better and more satisfying ... and freer. Leviathan is starting to run down and we need to encourage such devolutions of power and authority.
Conclusion: Great-man worship is a false paradigm. It is attractive to our father figure-seeking human natures but that doesn't make it accurate or healthy.
Editor's Note (August 30): It is over two years now since we wrote our first well-received (and skeptical) story about Julian Assange (or someone who LOOKED like Julian Assange). Since then much has come out – more in Antiwar.com, Infowars and even Veteran's Today. Our published track record is here for those who wish to look.
07/28/10 - Comes a Blond Stranger
11/29/10 - WikiLeaks: Clever PsyOps?
12/6/10 - Assange, Hero or Trickster?
12/7/10 - Goes the Dark Leader?
And many more...