Russia –“The beginning of the end of autocracy?”

StalinThe cover story of a recent Economist magazine, read “The beginning of the end of Putin.

The deeper meaning of those well chosen words might be “The beginning of the end of autocracy.As always in Russia, there is a third side of the coin. Putin may purport to be an exception, and it certainly seems that way, but if one takes a historical perspective of things Russian, Putin is a very strong symbol of that triad of forces that Nicholas I promoted as the formula for controlling Russia; “Orthodoxy, Autocracy, Nationality.” In so vividly exercising that autocracy, it is now coming to an end.

When one stands back and surveys the thousand years of Russian history, even the seventy-four years of the Soviet Union was but a repressive last chapter out of the story from autocracy to democracy. In my 20+ years of Russian business, I have never hired and worked with such bright, intelligent, loyal young men and women. They today are that growing middle class that is leading the change into a real and productive democracy.

A wise man had this to say about change:  It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new system [change.]  For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institutions and merely lukewarm defenders in those who would gain by the new ones. The Prince, Machiavelli, 1513.  It will take time, no doubt about it. But it is happening and we, the West, should let it happen at its own will and speed, cooperating as appropriate.

And if you want to learn more about Russia, including some jokes, see “Walking on Ice, An American Businessman is Russia.”


  1. says

    It’s anything but the end. Putin is clever and dynastic; surely he is nostalgic for the old Soviet empire and his feelings about Glasnost are no secret. But his clever exchange of role with Medvedev have made clear where he prefers to be, and he’s been cited too many times in the Dictator’s Handbook ( for there to be any doubt. The guy is clever.

  2. george birdsong says

    I like your new website Fred. Really well laid out. Regarding beginning of the end. . .it looks like the end is a long way off. The world changes but Putin does not. It will take a far more engaged, pragmatic foreign policy from the west, especially the United States to halt these nationalistic ideas. It’s interesting that Europe has become so dependent on Russian energy thinking that a wise policy. Let’s pray that our leaders think, plan and act. . . more that just react.

  3. Fred Andresen says

    Thanks, George. I am new at this, and have good helpers. russia is 1000 yrs old–so we have to be patient.

  4. Fred Andresen says

    Indeed it can be seen as a gamble. But things nevertheless change. What is happening now is a resistance to a positive change that will in the end bring potential good for all to enjoy. Thanks for your comment.

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