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Khodorkovsky: Left Turn, Part 3

Khodorkovsky: Left Turn, Part 3

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Published by: mikhailkhodorkovsky on Jun 01, 2012
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02/24/2014

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А TURN TO THE LEFT
-3. Global perestroika
Barack Obama’s victory in the US presidential elections is not simply the
latest change of power in one individual country, albeit a superpower. Weare standing on the threshold of a change in the paradigm of worlddevelopment. The era whose foundations were laid by Ronald Reagan andMargaret Thatcher three decades ago is ending. Unconditionally includingmyself in that part of society that has liberal views, I see: ahead
 – 
is a Turnto the Left.
Chance and necessity
In recent times I have been getting more and more questions from thebroadest range of people: do I consider that the Kremlin has armed itself with the ideology of my articles «A Turn to the Left» and «A Turn to theLeft-2»? The authors mention
the “priority national projects”, and the“leftification” of official rhetoric, and even the notorious «programme
-2020» (certain propositions of which really did appear in «A Turn to theLeft-2» three years ago).Inasmuch as the traditional reaction of our power bureaucracy to mythoughts is the punishment dungeon no matter what, I will attempt torespond through the newspaper «Kommersant», which in the year 2005 hadresolved to publish my reflections on variants of a socio-economic strategyfor Russia. I would like to thank in advance those who have helped me inthe preparation of the new article.Indeed, over the past 3 years certain changes in Russian domestic policyhave become noticeable. Although not exhaustive. However, the matterhere, of course, is not about me. But about the fact that the powerobjectively was not able to ignore the logic of the «turn to the left», as asystem of objective demands that reality makes of the ruling elite. Indeed,the raw-materials boom has given rise to a very pronounced need toovercome the glaring gap between the demonstrative consumption by the
elites and the oppressive poverty that is usual for today’s Russia. And the
question of the responsibility of the elites and of the need for long-termplanning has become acute from the point of view of the very survival of thestate.
 
 The Kremlin
 – 
it was just a coincidence that [it was] after the two «Turns tothe Left» had come out
 – 
undertook certain steps in the socio-economicsphere, which could not but have been welcomed, irrespective of the general
attitude towards today’s Russian power. Although it is important to
understand that these steps were not the consequence of a profoundconceptualization by the power of a new strategy for the development of Russia, but the sum of the reactions of the Kremlin
 – 
contradictory pulling indifferent directions
 – 
to external challenges, the most important of whichwas the threat of social instability, especially after the series of mosteloquent «color revolutions» in the post-Soviet space.Crisis phenomena in the Russian economy today show that in and of itself,the «reactive model», assuming a logic of behavior by the power that
follows the old Russian saying «until the thunder crashes, the peasant won’t
make the Sign of the Cross», can not work for long. To identify system-formational problems and the sources of likely crises needs to be doneproactively, long before these problems have become critical for the country.In other words, one needs to understand where we are, where the historicalroad is leading us, what will be beyond the next several turns in this road,which will make themselves felt in full measure only tomorrow, if not theday after.That is what my three-year-old «Turns to the Left» were really all about. Tothe amazement of some, the basic forecasts and assessments formulated inthose articles, it seems, are holding true.And today the whole world has already found itself on the threshold of aturn to the left. Serving as evidence of which is the triumph of Obama, andas security - the global financial crisis. Which, despite the excessive (and,likely, completely genuine) optimism of many of our top officials, hasthoroughly become our, Russian crisis. In acute and serious form, albeit fornow in a sufficiently narrow banking and stocks segment, as ought to havebeen expected. I insist on such an assessment, despite the processes I amaware of that have begun in the social sphere and in the branches of the «realsector» - metallurgy, construction, the automotive industry, etc. These arestill for now but portents of recession, even if they are menacing.Whether the crisis will spread «wide and deep» throughout the economy inthe short term depends on the literacy of the financial authorities. But the
 
medium- and long-term consequences lie beyond the scope of theirauthority.
The crisis: sources and component parts
Many leading politicians, experts and businessmen agree in theirassessments of the main reasons for the global crisis. These reasons are asfollows:- a sharp increase in the inefficiency of systems of state regulation inthe past 10 years; having become particularly blatant is the «great gap»between the global character of the principal economic processes in a mono-centric world and the local character of regulatory systems, which turned outin the end to be unstable and vulnerable in the face of shocks that extendedbeyond the confines of nation-state spaces; in a global economy, theregulatory mechanisms too must be global, but they are not so today;- the chasm between the concepts of «responsibility» and «the right toadopt decisions», which had already appeared a decade and a half ago andhas only been expanding since then, until the first victims of the crisis fellinto it; in the neo-liberal economy, decisions were being adopted, ever more,by supra-national and trans-national structures (first and foremost bycorporations, but likewise by the International Monetary Fund, and by theWorld Bank), but the ultimate responsibility for the social consequences of adecision fell on national governments and taxpayers;- the
diktat 
of portfolio investors in the global economic system; wehave become accustomed to looking at the world with the eyes of aninvestor, assessing the most diverse processes, problems and risksexclusively from the point of view of «how this will affect the financialmarkets», which by their nature are «nearsighted» and «hysterical» (
i.e.
theyspring effortlessly from rapt amorousness to the deepest disgust, oftenwithout any study of the essence of the matter); as a result, cracks weregrowing behind the façade of the edifice of thriving (for a long time)markets, and in the year 2008 these cracks began to spread withoutconstraint;- the social and national irresponsibility of the «corporation of managers», the moral erosion among people adopting key economicdecisions; over the past 25 years, managers have become a
de facto
separate

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