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№21 (108) 5 - 18 November 2003

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Urgent issue:     What is done…

Sultan Akimbekov

Recently, important practically revolutionary events took place in Russia. The arrest of Khodorovsky marked the beginning of great changes. On October, 31 the Mikhail Voloshin Head of the President Administration was dismissed. One of the staunchest friends of Putin Dmitriy Medvedev (he worked in Putin's team in Saint Petersburg) was appointed to this post. He also was the first assistant of Mikhail Voloshin. Putin refused to pursue a dialog with businessmen, who insisted on the meeting. Prosecutors froze 44% stake in Yukos. The Ministry of mineral resources of Russia searches to establish a strict control on the license agreements. Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobile would be the first to get the access to the Yukos accounts (to check if any offenses had place)

The leader of the pro governmental party "Edinaya Rossia " (United Russia)expressed quite an interesting idea. It is worth quoting. "All the natural Resources of Russia don't belong to any definite person or enterprise they belong to the people of Russia. If any enterprise manages the resources it doesn't' mean that it can privatize(or take) our profit". These Grizlov's words really are the key ones for understanding of the situation. It is a real revolution. These words is a declaration of Russian political elite that the great profits generated from the exploitation of natural resources can not belong to one definite company. It contradicts to the Western legal practice. According to the law of capitalism if the treaty is signed it has a predominant and supreme power. If you due to different reasons agreed to seal an unfair deal it is your problem.

This logic was universal. The principle mentioned above was used practically on all the territories where the people of Western civilization wanted to impose their will. Let's take for example the bargains made on the newly discovered lands. Vast areas inhabited by Indians were bought for beads and spirits. The contracts signed by Indians became the main source of their problem and in the long run of their extermination. The validity of these documents was proved with the help of gunboats

The problems began when the question about the great profits was put on the agenda. Finally the governments of the main oil producing countries won the right to manage the resources and get revenue from them. The examples of such countries are Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq etc. From the point of view of Highly developed Western countries the state's industry work is inefficient and state run enterprises are highly corrupted. From the point of view of any state the state run company has more advantages over the private enterprise because the lion share of profits is concentrated in the hands of government. Often such practice doesn't lead to the prosperity of the country but from the point of view state it is more useful and Jo Public considers it normal and fair. Even the corruption can't convince people that state run company is better then the commercial private enterprise.

What happened in Russia. On the one hand the USSR (Russia) was defeated in the Cold War and thus it can't be considered the real partner of the West that is equal to all other great powers(winners). On the other hand it is a part of the Western civilization. Russia has a great potential in military, industrial etc spheres. This country wants to win certain position on the international arena. What strategy should it choose to attain this target ? First the liberal political elite of Russia thought that it would be better to forget the heritage and aspirations of the Soviet Empire and become a part of the civilized Western community like Sweden or Switzerland. According to this logic Russia had to find a patron in the West and adopt western values and principles. The main obstacle here was the huge territory of the country, which didn't allow Russia to use the tactic of integration, that worked well with Poland, Estonia, Romania. This way chosen by the liberal political elite meant the capitulation before the West.

In the course of the last years of Putin's and siloviki's(coterie of security officials) ruling Russia is becoming a real independent power. The country restores its positions lost in Yeltzin's years. At the same time Russia continues to exist as a system of "oligarchy capitalism". The last group would prefer the integration with the West. Entrepreneurs don't approve the new policy of Putin's administration as it doesn't play in their hands. The state needs more financial means to advance its interests(as well as interests of the nation ) on the international arena and the government would ask entrepreneurs to concede some positions and share profits.

Putin and his political allies decided to cut a Gordian knot at once. The time will show if they succeeded to do it or not.

The whole epoch came to end. In the classic Marxist literature it is called a period of Accumulation of Capital . It is really a difficult period. Everything is possible and moral values don't play any role. It resembles to the Wild West). There is a lot of gold, quarrels gunfire attacks, and law that doesn't regulate anything. But this law is very severe to Indians that hamper progress. But each country has to pass this stage of development to begin live in full accordance with the rules and regulations of the highly developed Western civilization

The communist idea (it looked luring) failed. Today one can write a thesis "what would have happen to the USSR if it had followed the path of the communist China." In fact it is just a discussion about the another alternative way towards capitalism. This period of wild capitalism is akin to grave illness. One should live through it. Even the out-and-outest scamps and slave traders sooner or later want to become real gentlemen. Therefore nothing special happens in Russia today. All these events are the logical consequences of the changes that have taken place in the course of the last years.

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