Revolutions in Stasis

cabbagesandkings.jpgThis one comes from Boris Kagarlitsky in the Moscow Times:

Recent political struggles in Eastern Europe remind me of the excellent novel by O. Henry “Cabbages and Kings.” In this work, regimes change and governments are overthrown (or they desperately cling to authority). But in the end, absolutely nothing changes.

No matter who wins, life continues according to the same old rules — government officials continue to steal, the business community cheats both workers, and the state and politicians lie. Now even those who respond to calls by the opposition to take to the streets know in their hearts that this is true. But their dislike of the corrupt officials in power outweighs their distrust of the demagogues among the opposition forces. And if new leaders eventually do come to power, the same scenario can be repeated by just changing the names and places of the characters.

The current crises in Moldova and Georgia mirror previous events in other countries. Storming parliament, smashing windows and destroying furniture has become a familiar scene played over and over again in the former Soviet republics. The difference between current events and those in South America in the late 19th century is that most of today’s revolutions and uprisings are bloodless — at least for now.