Is Russia the future of Britain?

version

Who loves ya, baby?
What I mean by this is Britain turning into a mobster state, an oligarchy. We're seeing millions, if not billions, in public money disappearing all the time. There's zero accountability. The same people keep moving in and out of government. Everybody knows it's fucked, that the people in power are corrupt, and yet nothing changes.

I know everyone's written off Fukuyama now that history hasn't ended, but I was looking at a relatively recent paper of his on corruption and I think I agree with his contention that it may be THE issue of the 21st century,
You could counter that with climate change or a few other things, but I'd argue it's precisely because of corruption that climate change has become such a pressing issue. If people weren't bowing to lobbying from fossil fuel companies, taking bribes etc then maybe we'd have gotten on top of it decades ago.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
I was talking (to my depressed friend as mentioned elsewhere) about something related to this earlier... how these giveaways are a huge scandal - or should be - but cos there are so many other terrible things going on there is a kind of fatigue which is preventing it getting the focus it really ought. Even I can't get as worked up as I really should - I just have this general massive background outrage.
I think the Good Law society is taking them to court at least. Some of it seems so open and shut though - like they haven't released documents that they are obliged to etc
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
But yeah in general it feels as though what is happening in the US and UK is something we were always told and tended to implicitly believe couldn't happen here. That only happened to failed states and so on. But it really is happening - has happened, and half the population either hasn't noticed or is actively cheering it on.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
Right. The amount of public money Trump and co. must have made off with in the last four years... There are so many firms being set up by Tory associates and immediately receiving lucrative contracts too. Also, remember Grayling giving a contract to a ferry company with no ferries? Where'd the money go? He's now fallen into a 100k consultancy position for a port... There was the garden bridge project which fell through under Boris too, but only after something like 80m in public money had been swallowed by it...
 

Rudewhy

Well-known member
Corruption of the post-Soviet variant is a kind of social lubricant which is integral to the functioning of the hybrid communist/capitalist economic systems of the former Soviet states, the existence of which has its roots in the bribe system of the USSR which itself was the logical outcome of the attempted implementation of both a centrally commanded economy and total social equality in the communist sense of the term i.e. it wasn’t the “shock therapy” of Gaidar’s neoliberal reforms of the early 90s which produced this system of endemic, total corruption (although they undoubtably made things worse) - it was the internal contradictions of the communist system itself.

I don’t know if you’ve ever spent time in a post-Soviet country but we are, thankfully, a long, long way from the levels of corruption which the populations of such places have to endure. Whilst corruption undoubtably exists within our society (I’d argue its a natural feature of all societies, however they are arranged), the examples raised of possible corruption taking place within Britain at the highest levels of governance are nothing compared with the magnitude of the illegitimate transfer of public wealth to oligarchical individuals which continues to take place in states such as Russia and Ukraine, and to which there is no political solution - even Ukraine’s 2013 revolution, whilst successful in deposing Yanokovych, hasn’t really changed this system of total oligarchical control. The idea that Britain is in the process of becoming an oligarchical system is exactly the kind of sentiment which my friends from that part of the world would laugh at and proclaim could only come from the mouth of a naive British citizen who has never experienced the terror of existence which comes with living under the bureaucratic nightmare of the Russian/Belarusian/Ukrainian states.

Below: Former Ukrainian president Victor Yanokovych’s presidential palace on the outskirts of Kyiv, preserved as a museum to corruption following the 2013 revolution.

 

DannyL

Wild Horses
To follow Rudewhy's post, probably one of the most prominent events in Russia in recent months has been the poisoning of Alexi Navalny. You could add to this the falling out of windows of several medical staff who'd dared to criticise the coronavirus response of the state, as well as the attempted murders of the Skirpals here, the complete lies and distortion in response to the shooting down of MH-17, still ongoing, and a long list of other horrors. Probably the most shocking thing on the anti-Putin charge sheet is the bombing of several tower blocks in different cities killing 300+ - this has never been "proved" (how could it be?) but there have been allegations that it was carried out by the FSB to whip up anti-Chechen sentiment once the war in Chechnya was underway. I think we are way off that kind of deep rooted gangsterism. The day that Boris looks like he has his fingers all over multiple murders maybe we'll be close.

Russia's never really been "free" as such. They've had the Tsars, the Communists, then the oligarchs. There's never been widespread democratic norms in play there. We have a way to go 'til that's the reality here. Even you posting about it suggests a sense of outrage, rather than a fatalistic shrug and cracking open the vodka.
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
I mean this is what I think people don't get when talking about Russia. How deep and embedded this stuff is Always amazed when I see say Merkel et al talking about Russia and Putin as if they are vaguely normal states rather than putting on a Hazmat suit before entering the same room. The systematic defence of Russia by some elements of the Left is one of the most insane aspects of our politics.

I think the thing to really be worried isn't so much the domestic effect but the chilling of the principle of human rights round the globe in the 21st century. We're seeing that now with China and the Uighers. I'm not so naive as to think we're departing some great era of equality and rights for all - they were employed in a piecemeal and inconsistent fashion by all Western govts, but at least there was a framework and an indication for a direction of travel. Russia, and China just got elected to the UN Human Rights Council last week. Oh happy day.
 

WashYourHands

Well-known member
Given the scale of British arms exporting, we make Russia look like amateurs.

Add the weight of history, East India Co, rape and pillaging just about every corner of the planet, the Russians are still playing catch up imho.
 

Rudewhy

Well-known member
it feels as though what is happening in the US and UK is something we were always told and tended to implicitly believe couldn't happen here. That only happened to failed states and so on. But it really is happening - has happened, and half the population either hasn't noticed or is actively cheering it on.
The type of corruption that you and Version are alluding to has long been a part of the system here; just look at the events surrounding the construction of tower blocks and social housing in the 1960s and 70s. But to equate it with the oligarchical style of corruption, which reaches into every facet of human existance in the post-Soviet states, is ludicrous.

 
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DannyL

Wild Horses
Given the scale of British arms exporting, we make Russia look like amateurs.

Add the weight of history, East India Co, rape and pillaging just about every corner of the planet, the Russians are still playing catch up imho.
And somehow, from that mess, emerged democracy, universal suffrage, and frameworks of Human Rights. Either these things are worth defending or they're not, going forwards into the 21st Century. And the point of defending liberal democracy isn't that it's perfect or that there are no hypocrisies at play, it's that there is the space and aspiration for improvement - it's absolutely the worst system, apart from all the others. Did you hear Putin's speech to the G20 detailing what he thinks of liberal democracies? Look at what he said about immigrants or LGBT rights in Russia. Saying we're equivalent or even worse! - is complete fucking nonsense.

I sometimes think that the Left is completely consumed by an Oedipal complex, is so angry with daddy that it lacks a basic understanding of the world.
 
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IdleRich

IdleRich
The type of corruption that you and Version are alluding to has long been a part of the system here; just look at the events surrounding the construction of tower blocks and social housing in the 1960s and 70s. But to equate it with the oligarchical style of corruption, which reaches into every facet of human existance in the post-Soviet states, is ludicrous.

I'm not talking so much about corruption and money here but the illegal and anti-democratic actions of those in power. In the UK you have Johnson trying to close parliament so that his bills can't be challenged and defeated. In the US you have a corrupt president who got in with a minority of votes, who has increased his party's share in the senate while gaining fewer votes. He has that used that increased senate muscle to put in a corrupt head of the DOJ who has pardoned the president's friends and colleagues who have admitted their crimes and were heading for jail. The stuffed senate refused to remove the impeached president even though everyone knew he was guilty of what he was accused of.
This is what I mean by our systems of democracy being revealed as inadequate with the checks and balances we'd always been told protected us proving toothless.
I mean just to take one example from the above. Stone is a colleague and friend of Trump, he was found guilty of numerous crimes - in fact, he admitted numerous crimes - and was sentenced to jail. But then a Trump appointee pardoned him. This is the kind of thing that you expect to hear about in a tin pot dictatorship, not in the shining city on the hill.
 

WashYourHands

Well-known member
@DannyL I fully ‘get‘ where you’re coming from, but the distinction made was that our foundations are rotten, with key points from a historical (rather than a contemporary) perspective. The emphasis was laid out in my original post.

This isn’t some Oedipal complex or lacking a basic understanding of the world (please), rather what our own nation is built on historically. We only got “rights” by suppressing the rights of others (domestic and foreign) and the end of British colonialism is akin to yesterday in the big scheme of things, time-wise. We can just gloss over that, but I’d rather not.

Look at what slave emancipation insurance money contributed toward British infrastructure. Etc. Aboriginal and indigenous slaughter on numerous continents. Wars, endless wars, over anything worth grandstanding over. The “minor” matter of Ireland, sugar plantations in the Caribbean, funding the confederacy during the US Civil War, South Africa‘s legacy, the partition of India. Aka Industrialised mayhem. When was being gay decriminalised here? Not that long ago. Now we can add GCHQ acting as America’s bitch.

You’re spot on about Russia’s own bs. You could add Stalin, famine, genocide basically, but Britain’s own history is littered with atrocities, war crimes, genocide. Are our rights worth defending? Of course they fucking are, but in terms of historical malevolence Britain has taken the piss at astronomical levels.

This isn’t a leftist Oedipal position of ignorance. It’s called history.
 
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WashYourHands

Well-known member
As for the British arms trade, fairly open secret we export to multiple nations designated as ‘not-free’


Are we exporting ‘rights’ and democracy? Our maligned influence continues unabated. Think we should get our own house in order first and with the new intel bill, well, any hard earned ’rights’ we may have remain compromised.
 

Rudewhy

Well-known member
I don't really know how to respond to any of this, you seem to be talking about the business of political manouvering and operating at the highest levels of US politics, which always has been, and always will be, an incredibly dirty business for all involved. It's not really something that you should be getting depressed or worried about - these are events far outside of your control or influence.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
I don't really know how to respond to any of this, you seem to be talking about the business of political manouvering and operating at the highest levels of US politics, which always has been, and always will be, an incredibly dirty business for all involved. It's not really something that you should be getting depressed or worried about - these are events far outside of your control or influence.
Well of course they are, but if we can only talk about what we can influence then what does that leave? No point in dissensus for starters.
The point is that the US and the UK leadership have both moved very visibly towards illegal authoritarianism lately. I don't think there is reasonable arguing with that really.
 

Rudewhy

Well-known member
We're not moving towards any form of authoritarianism, be it 'hard' or 'soft', here in the UK. In the US, I don't know, maybe they are, but I would argue that any authoritarian tendencies that have been, or will be, imposed under Trump are reversible under a later presidency. This is completely different to the post-Soviet space where, as Danny has explained, centralised extralegal control is the norm, rather than the exception, to the formation of the power structure.
 
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