From Federationalism to Authoritarianism to Totalitarianism
An authoritarian government believes that there is no other way to govern the country than blindly following the rules of authority. This can lead a society to be corrupted. It is because those in power are more focused on their own interests than the needs of the country. Totalitarianism allows the state to control every aspect and aspect of citizens’ lives. Totalitarianism government means one that cannot easily be stopped or questioned. Citizens are left powerless to follow any rules the state decides. Russia is becoming less of the federation it was and more signs that it has an authoritarian-style ruler are emerging, which could result in a totalitarian regime. This hypothesis has its root in Russia’s State Duma. This is the lower Russian Federal Assembly. 1993 was the year that the Russian constitution gave executive branches far greater power than the parliament. This gave it tremendous power against both the parliament and the upper chamber, giving it the ability not only to approve or deny any legislation, but also to take decisions regarding elections. This is a serious problem for any society. What’s more, out of the 450 State Duma seats, 238 belong “United Russia”, an organization that is headed by Vladimir Putin (Orttung 2015). Putin controls 49.5% of Russia’s major decision-making branches. Many believe Putin was returned to power through the manipulation of the State Duma. Moscow saw protestors from over 80,000 people marching the streets, saying that Putin would not be able to win if his votes were nearly half (Gessen 2014. You might be asking yourself, is the number of 80,000 people protesting too small? This is because it is. Russians do not like the corruption and imbalance. The majority of them would rather have a strong leader to prevent anarchy, stabilize the economy and promote individual freedoms. This is due in part to the way Russians were raised, and the cultural environment that exists today (Gessen (2014)). This makes it a concern that Russia continues to ban homosexuality and free speech. If Russian citizens as a whole do not see the problem in their society and continue to blindly follow Putin’s orders, they will be well on their way towards a totalitarian government.
Russia is also being pushed towards authoritarianism by the Kremlin. This is Russia’s executive government, and primarily deals in foreign affairs. The Kremlin is a quasi-secret police that operates under the radar and helps to maintain Russia’s status. Kremlin continues to control radio and television. They prohibit any media that would portray Russia as a threat (Becker 2014. This is because about 90% of Russians get their news via television, and more than 50% cite television as the most reliable source of information (Becker 2014). Russian citizens are not aware of (or unwilling to believe) that their world view is biased. If they don’t know about issues, they live with darkness. They believe that the world is perfect and there are no problems.
The corruption of the Kremlin doesn’t stop here. The Russian internet is also under the control of the Kremlin. A new law ostensibly targeting internet piracy has given the state the power of closing websites without a judge order for those suspected of illegally downloading copyrighted content. They are not clear on what constitutes copyrighted material, and they have twisted this definition to their advantage” (Motyl 2012). The Kremlin is known for punishing those who speak against the country. Akhmednabi Akhmednabiyev a journalist was shot to death in Dagestan, July. Many editors also felt pressured, with many losing their jobs after speaking about corrupt elections (Motyl 2012. People who aren’t in agreement with the Kremlin should be encouraged to leave the country and seek a new home.
Putin’s pursuit of personal gains is easily apparent in Russia. He makes use of the Kremlin as well the Duma. Putin released Mikhail Khodorkoysky and 30 Greenpeace activists who were political prisoners. Putin’s leadership style is marked by his concentration on power and disregard for the wills Russian citizens. Many others also believe that Putin focused the attention of the world on the Olympics and other sporting events to divert the attention from the significant crackdowns on journalists. Putin is simply not concerned about Russians. He is only concerned about his own gains and not the Russian people. The worst part?
The examples I gave show that Russia is rapidly becoming an authoritarian regime. It could be headed towards totalitarian rule by Putin. Is it possible for Russians to endure whatever Putin chooses? Gormley’s paper explains how identifying a threat can help us face the true monsters of the world rather than pulling the blankets over our heads and possibly have a chance at stopping them (Gormley, 2014). Russia’s greatest problem is its majority citizens seem to be happy with the current Russian government. They will soon be helpless if they don’t get up and remove the blankets. Russia will become more strict as the time passes and its citizens’ freedoms will be reduced. Russia will continue to be dependent on its leader for his decisions.