ISSN 2330-717X

Putin Regime An Organized Criminal Group Incapable Of Compromise – OpEd


What many out of thoughtlessness, inertia or the demands of Moscow call the Russian government is in fact not a government in the usual sense but instead an organized criminal group, something which makes it far more dangerous because such groups are incapable of compromise, Yaroslav Shimov says.


Governments in the true sense are typically capable of compromise because they have a wide variety of interests to defend and routinely calculate their gains and losses not according to one measure but rather across the board, the Radio Liberty commentator says. But criminal groups are different (

They have only one goal, repressing others in order to extract more resources for themselves, Shimov argues; and because this is so, any compromise is a defeat which threatens to bring down the entire edifice they have erected on the basis of intimidation. A group based on that principle is at risk of ceasing to exist if its intimidation ceases to work.

And the corollary to this is that whenever such pseudo-state organized criminal groups are faced with the possibility of a loss, they almost invariably seek to raise the stakes because what for their opponents may be only a compromise is for them a question of life and death, he continues.

That is the real asymmetry in the international system today where the main contest is between states capable of compromise and an organized criminal group that isn’t. And so the most likely strategy of the latter is to wear down the former by constantly raising the stakes and thus leading some in the former to calculate that it is they who should compromise.


Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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