The New Elite in Post-Communist Eastern Europe

By Vladimir Shlapentokh; Christopher Vanderpool et al. | Go to book overview

15
The Dominant Elites of Siberia The Altay Region

Vladimir Shubkin

More and more experts are coming to the conclusion that the answer to the Russian political and economic future is not to be found exclusively in the Kremlin, the White House, or on Mokhovaya Street where the State Duma is now located. Certainly, the events in Moscow are both fascinating and important to consider: the open struggle between political parties, the application of heavy military equipment with leaders of various movements wandering between parliamentary tribunes, Matrosskaia Tishina and Lefortovo, the fakers of the hour whose predictions and promises would appear false tomorrow. All of this creates an image of a rough political life.

It is important, however, to understand that Moscow does not adequately reflect the entire country. In fact, many of the determining factors of Russia's success or failure occur outside Moscow in the provinces. The provinces may not have the news coverage of Moscow, but they do have a serious influence on the decisions made at the macro level and, therefore, a permanent effect. The strength of the provinces reflects the weakness of the center. The center had begun to deteriorate during Gorbachev's time and sharply worsened when Yeltsin came to power. A determining moment occurred at the end of the Soviet era. Twenty-five million Russians went abroad. The economy and infrastructure were in crisis. The volume of manufacturing dropped 60 percent. The provinces were calling for sovereignty, which created a threat of disintegration not only to the USSR but also to Russia. The entire control system of state property and state enterprises was destroyed. Slogans were now going against the Military Industrial Complex, which for years had been the apex for the scientific and technical elite. There was a sharp rise in prices and a huge differentiation of incomes

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