Present day Russia can be seen as the 5th empire to rise from its present geographic location. The second empire (Muskanov 1400-1605) cemented in place modus operandi that continue to this day. Sadly, in this history, I recognize a lot of where America is going.
For background, you should read Stephen Hedlund’s article titled, “Vladimir the Great, Grand Prince of Muscovy: Resurrecting the Russian Service State,” published in Europe-Asia Studies Vol. 58, No. 5, July 2006, 775 – 801.
Hedlund speaks of a matrix of 5 qualities that made Russia. Does it seem that America is going this way?
- Autocracy and unity of command – a.k.a no constraints on the government from external sources, but also no constraints from domestic challenges; no institutional way to call a ruler into account.
- Suppression of rights to private property.
- Absence of constitutional law and contract law. Rule (of people) by law, not rule of law (on all people, including the ruling elite) for the people.
- Nature of inflicted poverty: kormlenie (literally: ‘feeding’), which in essence means that officials are allowed to extract at will from the people. …undertaking activities [allowed from autocrats above] that are purely redistributive, i.e. that serve to increase their own welfare at the expense of others. Since they consume real resources in the process, without contributing to the joint product, the outcome is a deadweight loss to society.
- Ideology to underpin the acquiescence of those who would disagree with the analytical or pragmatic assessment of the situation. For Russia it was the Orthodox church up to (more recently) the Communist story. In America, it is liberalism.