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7/5/2016 1:50:30 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
After the Soviet Union fell in 1991, the Russian Federation was founded. Boris Yeltsin, the country's first president, moved immediately to transition the Russian economy from the Soviet system to western-style capitalism, involving something called "shock therapy". This was done more or less by privatising shares of the Russian economy. A few individuals managed to buy up much of the Russian economy and the wealth was concentrated in the hands of these "oligarchs".
Needless to say, the transition was incredibly rough for Russia. By 1998 the country was on the brink of collapse.
That all changed whenever Boris Yeltsin left office and was replaced by Vladimir Putin. He instituted reforms and also took the "quick fix" of making Russia an oil-based economy. After all, oil=money, as Saudi Arabia proves.
Since he was elected President of Russia in 2000, there's been an unwritten contract between Vladimir Putin and the Russian people: as long as Vladimir Putin ensures, stability, national unity, economic development and prosperity, and protects Russia's geopolitical interests, he'd basically be allowed to run the country like a dictator (a democratically elected dictator, of course, and he did step down from 2008 to 2012).
As such, Vladimir Putin and his United Russia party has ruled Russia since the beginning of the 21st century.
However, Russia is still technically democratic, and opposition groups are legally permitted to operate in the country. In the Russian Parliament there are a variety of opposition groups, most notably the Communist Party of Russia, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (an ultranationalist party, despite the misleading name), and A Just Russia (a liberal, centre-left party).
The Communist Party is presently the second largest in Russia, but it is nowhere near as powerful as United Russia. The "A Just Russia" party, which wants to westernise the country, is the third most powerful party in the country, and the fascist LDPR comes in fourth, the smallest party to have representation in the State Duma.
Ah, the ultranationalists. In 1993 the LDPR gained 23% of the vote in that year's State Duma Elections. But since then, they haven't really gotten anywhere. It certainly doesn't help that their founder and leader, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, is a complete and utter buffoon. He is SO much of a buffoon, in fact, that he has given the ultranationalist bloc a bad reputation, and most Russians would not want to lend their support to a party led by him. Other than Vladimir Zhirinovsky, in Russia there are no strong, charismatic ultranationalistic politicians who could possibly beat Putin in the 2018 Russian Presidential Election.
Honestly, this is a shame, because Russia is becoming an increasingly fertile ground for the rise of ultranationalism. Russia's sphere of influence is being intruded upon by the NATO alliance and the European Union. Most Russians feel like Russia is slowly being encircled and stripped of its allies by Western powers, most notably the United States. Furthermore, many feel that the West is importing its "morally decadent" values to Russia, such as homosexuality. Especially since 2008 the Russians have been feeling increasingly antsy about the West and its nefarious plans for Russia. And the recent wave of NATO deployments to and large-scale exercises in the Baltics certainly isn't helping.
There is so much potential, and yet there is no known person who is able to tap into this and overthrow Putin.
Thus, I have searched for the "Holy Grail" of Russian politics, an ultranationalist politician who will be able to tap into the insecurities and anger of the Russian people to become President and then attempt to establish a new Russian Empire.
Today, I believe that I *might* have found such a person. Igor Girkin, better known by the nom de guerre Igor Strelkov.
Info on the man here:
A former artillery officer in the Russian Army and currently a colonel in the FSB, he fought on behalf either of Russia or Pro-Russian breakaway states in the Bosnian, First and Second Chechen, Transnistrian, and Donbass wars as well as the 2014 Russian Operation to Annex Crimea. He is the ultimate Russian patriot.
This isn't all, of course. He is as ultranationalistic as they get, and he believes that Russia should not only annex Ukraine and Belarus but also rebuild the entirety of the former Russian sphere of influence (by force, presumably). He is not a member of the LDPR. In fact, he has his very own political party, the Russian National Movement, which he founded back in May 2016.
So what do you think? Is Igor Strelkov the real deal? Or not? Discuss.
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.
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