Could new Stalinists follow Putin?


Michael Kokot (Moskau, Kommentar) “Die Angst vor einer Zukunft ohne Putin; Wladimir Putin regiert Russland unangefochten wie selten zuvor; Selbst Kritiker des Präsidenten haben inzwischen Angst, nach ihm könne etwas viel Schlimmeres kommen,” Die Zeit, 26. Juni 2015 (10:19 Uhr).

An intriguing article in Die Zeit quotes former leading critics of Vladimir Putin as being apprehensive about those who might assume power when he is gone.  These “new Stalinists” could be much worse than Putin according to some.

What these quotes from former Putin critics show unmistakably, however, is how effective Putin’s repression, made palpable with the assassination of Boris Nemtsov on February 27, 2015, has become. This has reached the point where even his critics are now quoted as saying he is the lesser evil, reflecting a position of tacit support.

They could be right. We still don’t understand what was going on during Putin’s disappearance for 11 days less than a week after the Nemtsov murder. Or what was going on with the Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov.

But is it not just as possible that the Russian dictator has gotten to these former critics, with Nemtsov as an example of what could happen to them, and is now obliging them to give voice to a new Kremlin line that in effect bolsters Putin, while serving as a warning to those who oppose him abroad to be careful, or much worse could come?

It’s an intriguing question:  Are new Stalinists waiting in the wings, or has Putin himself become the new Stalinist?

The Trenchant Observer

About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.