The RAF escort a Russian Bear bomber off the coast of the UK. 19th Feb 2015 Image: RAF/EPA
(Not a corporate topic but interesting from a culture perspective)
Russia is demanding the Wests attention when there are lots of distractions. What is it that Putin is up to and should we be listening?
Some time ago I skimmed across the events evolving in the Crimea, the Ukraine and Russia. Since then the East Ukraine has become the hotspot with Russian backed separatists (and Russians) fighting the Ukrainian army. In the meanwhile there has been a disaster when hundreds are murdered on Malaysian Airlines MH17. For a country supporting an undeclared civil and state war this disaster turns out to be just an irritating distraction from the real business. On top of that, the Russian currency and economy is imploding not least because of the fall in gas and oil revenue. So what’s changed? Nothing really. The paranoid Military Class (Note 1) Putin belongs to is still in charge and threatened by NATO encroachment through EU expansion. They were buoyed by their success in Crimea reinforcing Putin’s power, tactics and egotistical self. As the economy withered there was a moment when the political class and the Commercial class seemed like they might be heard. But it was just a moment as the rich (commercial class) and the citizens are still secondary and they know it – An Enclave of Powerful Russians.
You are probably aware of the situation. Vladimir Putin exercises his power, political judgement and ego. Russia with some military posturing assists Crimea in annexing itself from The Ukraine and then legislates to join Russia. This follows public turmoil in The Ukraine following years of economic malaise and rule by an increasingly oppressive and pro-Russian government. The newly installed Ukraine Government rejects the annexing and defies Russia by looking to the west – the EU and NATO. That has to upset Russia. The Nato alliance and the UN complain about Russia’s behavior and threaten to implement economic sanctions particularly against wealthy Russian government officials. A simplified class analysis of whose at the big table making the decisions in this drama could be enlightening as to what happens next and as a way of seeing through a lot of detail.
The question is what classes of people are represented in the political class and those making the decisions? In Russia Putin and the key decision makers come from the Military Class (include police and any state secret service in this class as they act as the intellectual arm). This class can get a bit paranoid. Is my army bigger than your army? Is NATO encroaching on our territory? It can also feed Nationalism (Whose team are you on? If you’re not with us then you’re against us.) They would generally prefer to have a fairly direct approach to a problem. When a military class is in ascendency then it is common practice to use the tools available as political instruments. These tools include media control (propaganda), prisons, physical intimidation and violence. Continue reading