December 15, 2013

Amidst corruption, elitism, Russia is no more a global force: Study

Growing greed, corruption, mass emigration, and add to that Putin's 'personal whims' - it all is threatening Russia's future, according to an expert
Washington: The brutally repressive Soviet Union is history, although it may have opened up its borders to the world, but today's Russia too has become wracked with greed, corruption and mass emigration that threaten the nation's future. The future is in jeopardy. "As Russia's plight shows, the assumption that openness and liberalization automatically promote democracy and guarantee it will function, turned out to be wrong," Vladimir Shlapentokh, a Michigan State University sociologist, said in the academic journal, Communist and Post-Communist Studies. He argued that "It is misleading to glorify the 'open society' ideal exemplified in the views of many Western thinkers." Shlapentokh said the Russia of today is an oil-rich country controlled by corrupt politicians, mafias and wealthy elitists who buy foreign goods and keep their wealth in foreign banks. "Openness has had a major impact on Russian society by diminishing the loyalty and respect Russians have toward their country," he said. While Putin indulges in his personal whims, such as organizing expensive international sporting events, the country suffers from low-quality medical services, inept education, bad housing and many other problems, he argued. Ultimately, the many problems facing Russia are collectively eroding the cultural beliefs and institutions that make a country united and strong, Shlapentokh said. "This has put Russia in a weak position for resisting terrorism or potential attacks from her neighbours," he said. "In short, Russia is not in a position to be a major global force despite its nuclear arsenal, the size of the country, its natural resources and its position on the UN Security Council." Shlapentokh believes Russia's powerful elitists need to devote themselves to democratic ideals such as freedom and not be absorbed by personal wealth.

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