by M. Khazin
original text here: http://worldcrisis.ru/crisis/1611264
translated by “A”
About lessons of the last weeks
The correct technique of work for any politician in any situation consists in defining the main task at the moment and to solve it at any cost. Including, at cost of situation deteriorating on other less important directions. The USA can be an example here – when they define for themselves the main goal, they don’t stop before anything to achieve it. Another thing is that this task can be chosen incorrectly, but this is another problem.
Russian reality has few more nuances. In particular, it isn’t enough to understand, what result is for today the main thing and than it can be sacrificed for its achievement. It is necessary also to force those who controls what needs to be sacrificed, as a personal resource, to sacrifice. Actually, such problem exist around the world, but in many countries decisions are made by consensus and those persons who go against consensus, obviously assume excess risk. And in Russia the decision is made by one person – and level of discontent with it can reach critical level if its environment which, in accordance with the circumstances, has to make concessions, doesn’t understand or doesn’t accept those circumstances within which this or that decision was made.
Actually, it just an element of notorious “civil society”, but this time applied to elite. If an elite group has no mechanisms to achieve a local consensus, even faultlessly correct policy of the first person can become the reason of serious split. By the way, Stalin who constantly discussed with the colleagues various political moments (during notorious evening “sit-round gathering” at his “Nearest” dacha) perfectly understood it. Thus there is a known history how during conversation with one scientist, on his offer to make something, Stalin answered that he agrees with the interlocutor, but can do nothing about it, as: “My deputies won’t pass such decision”.
Today our situation is much worse, than it was in the USSR. I do understand, a little bit, how decisions in the Kremlin are made, and I understand, who those persons who define, in particular, a situation in economy. I don’t know what Putin discussing with them, but I perfectly understand that this discussion is senseless – these characters, first of all, doesn’t have in their head an integral picture of economic situation, and, secondly, they are strongly engaged long ago with preservation of Russia in Bretton Woods financial and economic model. In the 90th (years) it was possible to argue with such position, but it was, at least, rather reasonable. Today, when everything is completely different, it is simply impossible to keep this system afloat, but people who have no personal opinion, simply can’t change it.
And Putin, as though, as he can be criticized, most likely, understands the scale of those changes which happens in the world. He can make decisions correct or not correct (for example, I don’t know yet, how to estimate his yesterday’s peaceful speech in Crimea), but he can’t agree about them with his colleagues. Because they with a high probability will divulge his plans to the West and because they are ready to agree on words with any decisions of the leadership, in reality often being strongly dissatisfied (an example – notorious “May decrees”), and therefore its nonsense to discuss something with them senselessly due to the lack of their own position.
I will note here, of course, it is possible to scold Putin for his HR policy ( saying like “he, himself appointed those freaks”), however there are also nuances. First of all, these people, in many respects, appeared in the power long before Putin (Shuvalov, Nabiullina, Voloshin). Secondly, Putin’s position coincided until recently with their position. Thirdly, even the most brisk person, in intellectual sense, having got into a rigid administrative system either has to leave his personal opinion or or to leave the system. That is not a question how to behave correctly within an existing governing system, rather need to change system. This is, of course, a task, but higher up level.
I would like to note one more aspect. Even if the purpose is chosen and victims are defined (in case of our counter-sanctions, everything is visible by the naked eye), it is possible not to make some mistakes. For example, in a case with food purchases in EU and the USA it wasn’t necessary to include in number of the sanctioned products what was already paid for and which already carried on to Russia. Because, its already our products (which we can’t give back and nobody will return money for), and therefore not necessary to irritate and offend those who isn’t going to oppose the Authorities at all.
It would be possible to resolve this issue in three minutes – but for the first person its too small issue ( he shouldn’t bring up this question), and his subordinates, someone of stupidity, some for fear of a contradiction, and some of frank harm didn’t make it correctly. This is bad. Theoretically, this question (as well, as some other), had to be discussed in the course of adoption of the decree about counter-sanctions, but, apparently, it wasn’t made.
And just such situation shows that quality of administrative personnel that is rather low. I spoke about it long ago, but, eventually, it is my personal position, a position of an expert.
In our country a situation is much more difficult, than in the USA – we not always can define the main task, and realize it at the expense of all available resources. And it isn’t really clear who defines it – our expert institutes, unlike the USA, are arranged on purely administrative level: higher up the position of an “expert”, means he possess “more expertise”. It is clear that such approach can’t lead to any regular success – and everything starts depending on a position of the highest person in the administrative hierarchy. If he, for some reason, understood a question, the necessary experts found and the solution accepted – than it may lead to a success, perhaps. If not – there are practically no chances for a success .
But here, so to be spoken,is the naked fact. Thus, its possible to tell a full set of such stories. And a consequence from them very simple: in a present situation carrying out the independent political line is dangerous to Russia – as even if it will be chosen absolutely correctly, there is a big danger that mistakes of executors can nullify all success of the political authorities. We categorically need essential change of personnel. This is the main conclusion from events of the last weeks.