Since it has served its purpose of stabilizing and consolidating the 20 year old country, Putinism is officially on the decline. Its future, if it is to survive, is either coalition governance with communists or radical transformation towards long term construction of a post-scarcity societal model.
The ruling rich man’s party in the Kremlin has just gotten badly egged in the face by suffering a 25% drop in the Duma. It is the first reversal for regime’s party since a number of prominent robber barons created it in 1999 to support their macho hardware puppet at the time (when Putin was successfully used to divert nation’s attention from collapsing economy towards a secessionist terrorist threat). The history of United Russia’s seats in 450 person Duma in 1999: 73, in 2003: 225, in 2007: 315, in 2011: 238.
It was to be expected that people would not go for a lukewarm quasi FDRist reactionary policy of United Russia during a paradigm shifting global economic downturn (some members of Putin’s party have pictures of FDR on their walls for inspiration). Although survival and additional expenditures on welfare and social safety nets were enough to avoid Greek style riots, they were not nearly enough to maintain (much less gain) popularity.
While it may appear paradoxical that citizens may punish a regime that kept them afloat as some economies have imploded throughout Europe, it is not surprising given human psychology. Whenever the elites actually empower the wage slaves by growing the economic pie, the people get empowered (duh) to demand more and more (see 1960s United States and numerous blue collar worker strikes in China today). If there are sudden reversals that clash with ego expectations, the amounts of hatred released can be dramatic (note Beijing’s fear of annual growth dropping to under 7.5%).
Thus the popular shift to the promises of a high tech welfare state that the Communist Party of Russian federation (CPRF) offers. Zyuganov’s Communists expanded their delegation’s representation in the legislative by a respectable 61%. It is no longer a secret that CPRF stopped being just a platform for nostalgic elderly. The youth are joining the party in droves out of genuine conviction as well as a protest vote. “Business as usual” within CPRF is changing by the month.
It is to be noted that the 3 main opposition parties (including CPRF) are only allowed to exist by the Kremlin in order to have an effective feedback mechanism from the people that wasn’t present until 1991. This allows the financial and industrial cartels that rule the country to be relatively flexible, avoid stagnation, and respond to wage slave needs in a relatively timely manner.
If the emerging Chinese princeling leadership (comfortable soft children of the old guard) ever democratize towards party pluralism, it may be along these lines. Similar system of feed back also exists in Syria where pro-Assad party allows some minor friendly parties to openly express popular discontent within structured channels. Multi-party (more than 2) rich man’s democracy may even come to places like United States in the years to come as it appears that the power elites in Washington DC have lost the ability to measure and comprehend the sheer levels of peasant hatred against them. One can imagine a controlled monkey like Kucinich being allowed a small political block so frustrations can be channeled and systematically co-opted.