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Sham Formalism and Socialist Legality

Western leftism and contemporary Russia are like a box of chocolates – you just never know what you’re going to get. This one is worth reading however:

Putin’s KGB origins should not be misconstrued. There was a power vacuum when the Soviet state disintegrated and the Communist Party was dismantled. The KGB was the only Soviet-era institution that survived. There was an internal logic in Putin’s use of former KGB people to staff key positions. In the Soviet era, the state bureaucracy was weak compared to the party bureaucracy. Now, only the KGB remained (more or less) intact together with the symbolic memory of Peter the Great. The recent quasi-constitutional farce in which Putin outwardly respects the two-term ban on presidential power, yet virtually appoints his successor and then continues as prime minister—and all this without effective internal dissent or opposition—suggests how deeply ingrained historical traditions of autocratic rule continue to exist, sometimes accompanied by a sham formalism reminiscent of socialist legality.