The “palace” of Colonel Alexei Safonov, as they say, blew up the Runet. Golden toilet bowls in the “estate” of the head of the traffic police department of the Stavropol Territory have become another meme and topic for discussions on social networks.
The pre-election background of the “cleansing” of the next “werewolves in uniform” is obvious. The population is shown the determination of the authorities in the fight against corruption. However, the electoral return on corruption exposure is highly questionable for a number of reasons.
In a kaleidoscope of changing news and scandals, the mass consciousness cannot keep a certain fact in the focus of its attention for a long time. To maintain a high degree of public outrage, the plot must develop.
In Soviet times, this task was solved by organizing various kinds of affairs. For example, in the Krasnodar Territory in the 80s of the last century, the investigation of abuses in the Okean store grew to the “Medunovsky case” (after the name of the first secretary of the Krasnodar Regional Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Sergei Medunov). Medunov himself, who was on friendly terms with General Secretary Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev, did not come under investigation, but was only removed from his post for “mistakes in work.” However, regional officials and party leaders ended up behind bars, and Bella Borodkina, the head of the trust of restaurants and canteens in the city of Gelendzhik, was even shot.
To date, there are no signs indicating that the scandalous exposure of the chiefs of the regional traffic police will expand to a large-scale case, as in Soviet times. A plot without development will quickly get lost in the stream of other news. Moreover, nature itself creates much more serious news feeds than the discovery of golden toilets from corrupt government officials: floods, forest fires, and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic cause much more concern.
Against this backdrop, the feeling of anxiety among Russians is fueled by the steady rise in prices for food and a decline in income. During the “Direct Line”, Vladimir Putin was complained that overseas bananas are cheaper than domestic potatoes. Banana prices have reacted with an increase. But this news no longer arouses interest, since retailers announce the impending rise in the price of bread. The promises of officials to restrain prices on the situation, if they do, then in the opposite direction – prices rise. From which the average person concludes that price tags do not depend on officials. Prices are dominated by the elements of the market, which are perceived in the same way as natural phenomena.
Thus, the elements are raging in the world, and the state does not have the resources to cope with them. Therefore, the state looks like a weak and largely useless. When the state machine demonstrates its “toughness” to citizens with new bans, the so-called “tightening the screws,” it further exacerbates discontent in society. Attempts to raise their authority among the population by demonstrating military power do not produce the expected propaganda effect, since the Zircons fly somewhere far away, and the average person is directly confronted with problems in the solution of which officials are not helpers, but often even a hindrance.
The Soviet Union had much greater military power and international prestige than modern Russia, but the citizens of the USSR were so busy struggling with shortages and standing in long queues for essential goods that there was no longer any time or energy left to fear a nuclear war.
30 years after the collapse of the USSR, the psychological state of society is in many ways similar. The difference is that in those years people had money, but the stores lacked the necessary goods. Now goods are in abundance, and the majority do not have enough money for even the most basic, as evidenced by various opinion polls and statistics.
There is another factor that reduces the effectiveness of exposing the next colonel with cash deposits. The authorities too quickly and successfully “cleaned out” the most media “foreign agents”. Now it is much more difficult to shift the responsibility for the worsening financial situation of Russian citizens to the intrigues of external enemies and the “fifth column”. We have to look for pests and werewolves in our own ranks in order to demonstrate to the electorate the determination to fight for the people’s happiness.
But the hunt for gold toilets has been going on for years, and corruption continues to bloom, and the population does not feel the effect of periodic detentions of officials. When state propaganda exposes “CIA agents” in the ranks of the leaders of the Russian opposition, it is presented as part of a “world conspiracy” against the country.
Against the background of such an epic picture, the usual for Russians road extortions and the amount of damage to the state in 19 million rubles look unconvincing and even ridiculous. In the comments to the news about the “palace” of Colonel Alexei Safonov, users jokingly tried to clarify: 19 million rubles a day or a week? This kind of sarcasm on social media indicates that citizens are well aware of the scope of abuse by Russian officials. And the demonstrative “cleansing” does not make an impression. And yet they are in no hurry to get things started with an Andropov scale, so as not to rock the boat.
But the boat is already hurling with might and main over the waves both from natural disasters and from the growing socio-economic problems and contradictions. 30 years ago, Russia abandoned the socialist experiment with the intention of creating a more efficient capitalist economy and improving the well-being of its citizens. However, in the anniversary year of the collapse of the USSR, the results of the capitalist experiment are also not impressive.
Modern Russia has inherited the worst features of the Soviet political model and borrowed the experience of “wild capitalism” with all its destructive consequences for society. The separation of powers and the election procedure became as decorative in Russia as in the USSR. Opposition is equivalent to working for foreign intelligence services. In those years it was called “anti-Soviet activity”, now – “extremism”.
At the same time, social stratification in Russia has reached a scale comparable to that of the Third World. The term “working poor” sounds clever, but in practice means that many people work, as they say, for food. Education, health care, culture, science are in decline. Society is degrading and lagging behind in development. And nearby is the dynamically developing China, which has implemented market reforms so successfully that it entered into an economic and geopolitical confrontation with the United States. After the collapse of the USSR, European countries united into the European Union, and now there is such socialism that Soviet citizens never dreamed of.
In Russia, however, there are neither the advantages of the Soviet system with its social guarantees, nor the economic advantages of modern capitalism. The Russian boat rushes over the waves, driven by the elements, without a clear course and route. As long as the raw materials generate income, you can stay afloat. And then – how will it turn out …
The footage of the house of the head of the traffic police of the Stavropol region Safonov caused a shock: the golden palace
See the related photo gallery
Hunting season for golden toilets