Archives for posts with tag: imperium

For the outsiders, it seems like Gorbachev ‘made’ Putin.
Gorbachev had destroyed the Soviet Union and, thus, had set the scene for Putin to take over.

I’m afraid things are a little more complicated than that.

Gorbachev – at that time, the best informed decision maker in the whole USSR – had been smart enough to understand that no matter what he might had tried to do, the corpse was already rotten.
That everything but a major ‘upheaval’ could not accomplish anything more than prolong the agony. What he had done was nothing more than allowed the things to happen according to their nature.

I’ll make a short break here and remind you that all ‘imperium’ had eventually ended in failure. The tighter the control exercised by the ruler, the more abject the eventual failure. Check your history book.

So. Gorbachev had taken the appropriate steps. What he had done was in step with the natural flow of history.

Eltsin and Putin, on the other hand, had done the exact opposite.
Eltsin had tried and Putin had succeeded in regaining the ‘reins’ of the government. The reins, the whip, ever stronger control over the barn where the whole stash of hay is deposited…

Why things had unfolded like this?
Because they – Eltsin and Putin, had chosen this venue and because nobody else had been able to do anything about it.

OK, Gorbachev, Eltsin and Putin had made their respective calls in basically the same social and political environments. The economic situations were ‘somewhat’ different but this doesn’t change what I want to stress out. Each of them had done what had crossed each of their individual minds.
Each had been able to do whatever each of them had wanted because…
Because that particular ‘social arrangement’ allows the ruler to make whatever decisions they may see fit.
Because that particular ‘social arrangement’ – dictatorship, no matter how much window-dressing had been slapped on it, allows the person who happens to clamber ‘on top’ to keep making mistakes until the whole ‘carriage’ disintegrates.

Until we learn this lesson…

Does he have any ‘right to exert his authority, inside the limits that have been delineated for him’?

Somebody who has real authority enjoys a certain degree of autonomy, if not outright independence. ‘Authority’ is almost never clearly delineated, there is always a gray area where the discretion of the individual in charge is the one that calls the shots.
More over if we, the ‘subjects’, consider that he has ‘the right’ to exercise that authority then it’s us who are in deep trouble.
‘Exertion of authority’ ‘smacks’ of the situationĀ  when the ‘authority man’ had conquered his position against the wish of his subjects – like the emperors of the old. (Or like the communist dictators of not so long ago, only they pretended to exercise their authority for the benefit of the people while the emperors of the old were more straightforward and declared themselves ‘gods’)
Nowadays, at least in the democratic states, authority is, theoretically, used as a tool, towards the accomplishment of what the person in charge is supposed to achieve, not as a right enjoyed by that person.
In fact the notion of a right to exert authority inside some limits is akin to what has been described as ‘feudalism’, a social arrangement not that different from the Athenian democracy. The people were divided in two categories, just as in the previous situation – the ‘imperiums’ of the Antiquity, the difference being that in an imperium the top class was inhabited by a single individual – the emperor/dictator, while in feudalism/Athenian democracy the top class was inhabited by the free people, whose authority/freedom extended only as far as it started to encroach the authority of the equivalent individuals. I have to remark here thatĀ in many circumstances feudalism has very quickly degenerated back to imperium – for instance in absolutist France, ‘L’etat c’est moi’, or in tsarist Russia, while England successfully avoided that due to the spirit enshrined in Magna Charta.
The difference between feudalism/Athenian democracy and the modern democracy being that currently we can no longer speak of individual authority simply because nowadays no one has the “right” to own slaves – as the Athenian ‘democrats’ had, nor even enjoy extensive authority (bar the right of life and death) over other people – the serfs, as the feudal barons did not so long ago.
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