INTERVIEW WITH DR. ALEXANDER RAHR: THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF LENIN’S DEATH AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF RUSSIA, COMMUNISM AND CAPITALISM AFTERWARDS AND IN THE FUTURE

INTERVIEW WITH DR. ALEXANDER RAHR: THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF LENIN’S DEATH AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF RUSSIA, COMMUNISM AND CAPITALISM AFTERWARDS AND IN THE FUTURE

Global Review had the honor and opportunity to interview former DGAP member, then Gazprom and Putin advisor Dr. Alexander Rahr on the 100th anniversary of Lenin’s death and the development of Russia, China, communism and capitalism since then.

Global Review: Dr. Rahr, 100th anniversary of Lenin’s death. The CPRF under Zyuganov celebrates. Russia too, mass marches at Lenin’s mausoleum? To what extent does the Russian CP still have anything to do with Lenin? Does it still want the old Soviet Union back, including the planned economy? Does it still have influence in Russia and hope for a Lenin or Stalin revival? Is there a big party going on in Russia now or are some people celebrating his death, perhaps with a bottle of Gorbachev vodka, because they are glad he is dead?

Dr. Rahr: Russia is no longer the Soviet Union, although parts of the Soviet model of rule are now being revived by Putin in Russia. Reprisals against dissenters, those who cross the line, opposition members – are of course reminiscent of the times of the Soviet Union. There is no longer a CPSU, but the Kremlin’s monopoly on the use of force, in the form of the presidential administration, has been restored. To be honest, it has to be said that even after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, democracy was never established in this country. Boris Yeltsin buried democracy in 1993 by firing on his own parliament. What are the major differences compared to then? – Very important – Russia no longer has a planned economy, Russia is a capitalist country, with oligarchs as capitalists, Russia is a state with great social inequality, but with private property, almost every Russian citizen owns their own home, some two. There are medium-sized companies and complete freedom of travel and free access to the Internet. There is hardly any banned literature. Religion, which was banned in the Soviet state, plays a leading role in today’s Russian society. The communists, on the other hand, play absolutely no role in today’s Russian politics and society. Communists even go to church on public holidays. Putin has created a system of bloc parties that actually all want the same thing. There are hardly any differences in the programs of the Communists and Putin’s United Russia party. You will be surprised, but even Lenin no longer plays a role in today’s Russian politics and society. The mausoleum still stands on Red Square, but during military parades it is covered up and ignored. Tourists do not make a pilgrimage to Lenin’s mausoleum, but to the monument to Minin and Poscharski – the Russian military leaders who drove the Poles out of Moscow in 1613. There are, let me repeat, no long queues of people in front of the mausoleum.

Global Review: Where does Putin stand on Lenin? He recently blamed him for Ukrainian nationalism. Lenin and Rosa Luxenburg also had differences when it came to the right to self-determination of peoples or national minorities. To what extent does that play a role? What does Putin like and dislike about Lenin?

Dr. Rahr: Putin has declared Lenin a traitor, not because he cooperated with the German Wehrmacht in 1917, which secretly brought him to St. Petersburg in a sealed train carriage, where Lenin then instigated the revolution, but because he pursued a nationalities policy that was harmful to the Russian empire. Putin sees the founding of national republics, such as Ukraine, as a strategic mistake. When Soviet power weakened in 1991, the Soviet Union disintegrated along these republic borders, which were illegal and artificial from the point of view of the current Russian leadership. If these artificial borders had not existed, the nation state of Russia would have remained alive. But the point of Lenin and Stalin’s nationalities policy was precisely to create quasi-artificial republics, to add foreign territories to the republics so that, in the event of a major crisis, the titular nations in these republics could be prevented from leaving the Soviet Union by the other minorities living there.

You will still be surprised, but even the October Revolution of 1917 no longer plays a role in Russian politics and society today. It is only dealt with marginally in school textbooks. Russia is oriented towards its 1000 years of greatness and communism is seen as a marginal phenomenon. The French Revolution, which shaped today’s Europe, will still be remembered in 1000 years‘ time. The Russian October Revolution will disappear into a historian’s drawer. And in the last 20 years, numerous surveys have been conducted in Russia. People have been asked who was the most important personality in Russian history. Interestingly, Prince Alexander Nevsky, who defeated the German Order of Knights in 1242, and Stalin(!) took the first places.

Putin, Putinism, is also so popular in Russia today because it is based on the idea of a strong Russian state. There has never been a Western Enlightenment in Russia, only a communist Enlightenment in the 1920s and 1930s. This failed miserably. For the Russians, what is important is not democracy, not human rights, not civil rights, not an independent judiciary, but national interests and national strength. Because I say so, I am criticized by academic colleagues in Germany.

Global Review: You claimed that Putin would rather glorify Stalin, firstly because of the dictatorship and terror, then also as the victor of the Great Patriotic War and victory over fascism. In other words, as a successful warlord who made the Soviet Union, or Russia, a world power and war victor.

Dr. Rahr: Yes, that’s how it is. Most Russians don’t care about coming to terms with the past, which took place in Germany after 1945, for example. Almost every Russian I have spoken to in the last 30 years has told me: yes, Stalin was a criminal, but he made Russia a great power. We love and respect him for that. I am always completely irritated after such statements. I ask: weren’t your relatives victims of Stalin’s reprisals? Do you have no respect for your family history? I’m always proven wrong. They say I’m westernized. In Russia, people don’t look back at history. Otherwise you would have to say a lot of negative things. People want to be proud of the whole of Russia’s 1000 years of history. And under Stalin, Russia was stronger than ever before. 10% of liberal Russians think differently, but that is not the majority. For Russians, their status as a world power is the most important thing. Restoring it is a big dream for many Russians.

It is clear to most Russians that the West does not want a great Russian power. But they accept conflicts with the West in order to achieve their goal anyway. Some would reply to me now and say: no, the Russians have no dreams of becoming a great power, they just want their national security interests to be taken into account. I shake my head and say: the greatest national interest of a Russian seems to me to be the restoration of the country’s great power status.

Global Review: It is always claimed that the terror only began under Stalin. But Lenin and Trotsky were already in favor of the „red terror“, the Cheka was already founded under them and Dzerinsky was already raging under Lenin. Especially since Trotsky also built up the Red Army. Today’s Trotskyists like to tell the story that it was only under Stalin that the alleged proletarian soviet republic was abolished and terror was introduced. Alexander Solzhenitsyn also writes in his „Gulag Archipelago“ that the entire gulag system was started under Lenin.  Lenin and Trotsky are protraited as model democrats in contrast to Stalin. Stalin is called the Stronger, but Lenin is also called The Terrible or The Strict, which also sounds a bit like Ivan the Terrible. But to what extent were they not all representatives of Asian despotism?

Dr. Rahr: No Asian despotism was as bad as the great terror in Stalin’s era. I never believe such things and regard him as one of the most important historians of the 20th century. Incidentally, I am still in very good contact with his widow, who has set up a center in Moscow to come to terms with the past. You might be surprised, but Natalia Solzhenitsyn is on very good terms with Putin. But that was before the war. You are absolutely right in your question. It was not Stalin, but Lenin and Trotsky who were responsible for the terror in Russia. Lenin created the concentration camps, not Stalin. Opponents of the Bolsheviks were largely liquidated by Lenin. And of course it was Lenin, not Stalin, who invented the Cheka. After his exile, Trotsky tried to whitewash Lenin in order to make Stalin look like a great villain. The left-wing movements in the West believed everything Trotsky said, and that is why in the Western view of history today Lenin is the revolutionary leader, while Stalin is the great criminal.

Global Review: The most powerful opponent of Stalin in the CPSU after Lenin’s death in 1924 was Trotsky. In his memoirs, he describes Stalin as a brutal, uneducated schemer who used tricks to drive him out of the country and usurp power. But was it just Stalin’s personal character and underhand tricks or was Stalin unable to assert himself with his course of „socialism in one country“ due to the absence of the international proletarian world revolution, which Lenin and Trotsky had initially hoped for in Germany, especially as fascism had come to power in Italy for the first time with Mussolini?

In Trotsky’s memoirs, it is always striking how the internationalist Trotsky always underestimated nationalism, even at the outbreak of the First World War, when he hoped that it could be prevented by a worldwide general strike or at least in Germany or Europe by a workers‘ uprising and was then completely surprised by the nationalist frenetic masses, including the proletariat and the hurrah patriotism. To what extent was Stain more of a nationalist or national Bolshevik, like Mao and others? After all, Stalin and Mao did not merge their two countries and CPs into a mega-Soviet Union or even workers‘ states, but retained their respective nation states? What is Stalin’s and now Putin’s relationship to nationalism and internationalism?

Dr. Rahr: Lenin was a pragmatist. But he only accomplished the revolution in Russia in 1917, after which he was terminally ill, almost the victim of an assassination attempt, bedridden and unable to speak for the last two years of his life. As early as 1922, Russia was ruled by a triumvirate consisting of Trotsky, Zinoviev and Stalin. Trotsky was a dangerous idealist, he wanted only one thing: the communist world revolution. He firmly believed in it. Even after the failure of the communist revolution in Europe, Trotsky did not lose his faith. Like Lenin, Stalin was a pragmatist. In any case, he was not an ideologue. He spread the slogan that socialism must first be created in one’s own country. From today’s perspective, I would say that Stalin was not a communist either.

He was more of a great power politician and nationalist. We have discussed this at length in our past Global Review interviews. Stalin saw how the workers‘ uprisings in Europe were all failing and fascism was gaining the upper hand. He began to prepare for the great war against Germany and the Western powers, and to this end he carried out a large-scale industrialization of the previous agrarian state of Russia. He did not care about the workers and peasants in his state, they were small pieces on the chessboard. He used brutal force to suppress large sections of the population before setting about purging his own communist elite.

Stalin was not an internationalist. After the elimination of the old communist guard at the head of the state, he surrounded himself only with politicians, a following that served one goal, Stalin’s power. After 1945, half of Europe fell into his lap. Not least because the Americans had nothing against the division of Europe into two parts. The Red Army was the largest force in Europe in 1945; there were practically no other armies left. If Trotsky had become head of the Soviet Union instead of Stalin, there could well have been a mega alliance between the Soviet Union and China.

Global Review: Under Lenin and Stalin, the Cheka and the Red Army were established, in fact the siloviki apparatus. To what extent does this actually form the actual continuous deeper state of Russia, the actual historical „backbone“? Has it not been so powerful since Gorbachev, under Yeltsin the oligarchs ruled more, but apparently the old siloviki organized themselves and then took over power – keyword Putin, Patrushev, Yakunin, etc. – as is also described in detail in the book „Putin’s Net“ or Yakunin’s „The Treacherous Path“. To what extent is today’s Russia, after the disempowerment of the oligarchs, who still played the main role under Yeltsin, now a siloviki state with a KGB dictator under Putin?

Lindsay Graham once put it like this after his first meeting with Putin: „I looked into his eyes and saw three letters: KGB“. The fantasy of an incorrigible Cold Warrior or did he understand the essence? The United Russia party plays a rather minor role, not to be compared with the Communist Party of China, whereby the party controls the gun barrels and the VBA and siloviki, including the oligarchs. What system would you describe today’s Putin’s Russia as?

Dr. Rahr: It is still far too early to make a final judgment on today’s Russia. Much will depend on the outcome of the Ukraine war. Russia will be faced with a difficult decision: whether it drifts completely into Asia or seeks to join Europe. By its very nature, Russia is a European country, not an Asian one. Europeans see Russia as part of their European heritage. The Asians see Russia only as a supplier of raw materials. China will not accept a great power role for Russia in Asia any more than the European Union wanted to accept a great power role for Russia in Europe. I do not believe that Putin is a dictator. Nor do I see Russia becoming a dictatorship. There are many different interest groups in Russia. What prevails in Russia, however, is a cult of personality. Russian society seems to be historically very susceptible to a cult of personality. What Putin says, what Putin thinks, what Putin means, what goals Putin might still have, like many in Russia this seems to be groundbreaking. The decision to take the cream and start the Ukraine war came entirely from Putin himself. When the speaker of Russia’s parliament said ten years ago in the Valdai Club that there could be no Russia without Putin, many people frowned. Today, these statements are extremely true.

Global Review: You said that Stalin is still loved today by Russians and Putin as the victor of the Second World War and over fascism. But isn’t the fascination with Stalin at the time also explained by the fact that he transformed the backward agrarian and kulak state from a developing country into a modern industrial state, which then became a model for a number of colonies and national liberation movements, including their communists (with the exception of the Khmer Rouge, who wanted eco-communism). Especially as many believed that capitalism as a system was doomed because of Black Friday in the USA and the global economic crisis of 1929, including the rise of fascism, while the seemingly crisis-free, industrializing Soviet Union was seen as a beacon of hope.

Briefly. That Stalin and his industrialization were seen as a kind of progressive developmental dictatorship and also an alternative economic system? Despite the mass murder of the kulaks as a result of collectivization, the shortage economy of the planned economy, etc., their weaknesses only really became known after the Second World War and in the competition of the capitalist USA, which had then risen to become a world power, and then became more and more apparent, which then also led to the collapse of the Soviet Union as a result of Reagan’s dead arms race.

Dr. Rahr: Yes, Karl Marx himself famously said that communism could never take root in Russia. Russia had a completely different, non-European tradition, no real working class, was exclusively a peasant state and had no ideological upper class, i.e. bourgeoisie, that could carry out the revolution. The Bolsheviks therefore had to create their own upper class; the nobility, monarchists and intellectuals of the tsarist era had all emigrated or been murdered. Basically, communism was an experiment on the Russian people. Since it didn’t work, it had to be constantly corrected by the most brutal means, it had to be reenacted. I can’t prove it, but I believe that if the February Revolution, the bourgeois revolution, had worked in Russia, Russia could have developed into a first-class industrial nation in a European way, half democratic, half authoritarian. Stalin managed the industrialization of a backward country with brute force, that is true, and many Russians see this as his achievement. The mass victims of the Stalin era are hardly remembered. When Hitler attacked Russia, Russia’s defenses fell apart. Stalin had not expected Germany to attack.

Over 2 million Russians surrendered or were taken prisoner in the early weeks of the war – as we know today, Stalin was on the verge of fleeing Moscow for Samara. When the Communist leadership realized that the Soviet population was not prepared to die for Communist slogans, religion was reactivated. Communist Russia won the war against Germany with national slogans, images of saints, memories of heroic deeds and earlier times, but, as I said, not with Communist slogans. It was foreseeable that after the collapse of communism and the Soviet Union, nation states would emerge on the territory of the only red superpower. Socialism has not survived in any of the former Soviet republics.

However, no former Soviet republic has adopted the Western model of democracy. Nor has the future of Ukraine. After the war, I see it as less European and much more nationalistic. Europe will have to make do with Russian nationalism in its values over the next few decades. To what extent this will be a danger for Europe remains to be seen. Incidentally, I believe that sooner or later most Eastern European states will also bid farewell to the liberal Western model of democracy – in the direction of stronger nationalism.

Global Review: Gorbachev tried, above all, to reform the political system with glasnost and perestroika, while the CCP under Deng maintained the CCP’s monopoly on power, although it pushed forward the 4 modernizations of industry, agriculture, science and the military, but there were already initial approaches democratization, most prominently the defeat of the wall of the democracy movement under Wei Jingsheng, who was then the “5th Modernization”, called for the elimination of the CCP’s monopoly on power and the democratization of China, including a multi-party system. When this resulted in a mass movement in 1989, the Chinese Communist Party then suppressed it with violence and retained its monopoly of power, while the siloviki faded into the background after the failed KGB coup in 1991 and Yeltsin allowed a multi-party system including an economic crash program with oligarch capitalism, which was more like a Wild East, until the Siloviki under Putin seized power in a quiet coup and subordinated the oligarchs. What is interesting, however, is that the Chinese Communist Party appears to have revived Lenin’s New Economic Policy in new, more gigantic dimensions, retaining the idea of control over the economic commanding heights, as well as Lenin’s slogan „The capitalists will sell us the ropes with which we hang them.“, China opened up foreign investments, even to the point that this would result in a dependency of capitalist states, be it the USA, the EU, or even Germany, which would have no consequences for the entire global economy and the capitalist states themselves in decoupling attempts Is there a NEP 2.0 ala Lenin in action in China and Russia, also in terms of Putin’s Resource Empire? Where do you see differences in the economic systems of China and Russia?

Dr. Rahr:: You are a proven China specialist, I am not. Although I was born in Taiwan, I don’t speak Chinese. Over the past 30 years, my academic work has focused on Russia and the post-Soviet world. China’s economy is far superior to Russia’s. Deng Xiaoping did everything right for China. He modernized his country’s economy without weakening the political institutions. Gorbachev went the other way. He first wanted to change politics, introduce democracy, and thought that the economy would then modernize itself. That was of course a fallacy. Although the West has always encouraged him in this approach. But one thing has to be said. Russia is not exclusively a raw materials power. This statement is simply wrong. Especially under Putin, large parts of Russian industry have been revitalized and modernized, There is a middle class, private companies, foreign trade, apart from the export of oil and gas. Russia no longer has a planned economy, but rather a market economy, even if it is not social, like in Germany, and still has many problems. The Russian economy has steadfastly defied Western sanctions. Today the question is who was hurt more by the sanctions – the Russians or the West? But back to China.

I believe that the Chinese are the big winners of the geopolitical and geo-economic world upheaval. Today, China is Russia’s only bridge to the global economy. Otherwise, Russia is isolated from all sides. The Chinese can open doors for the Russians, but they can also close them. The Chinese really value the partnership with the Russians, especially when it comes to raw materials trading; they were a bit afraid of the Russian military machine. This was affected by the war in Ukraine, which made one or two Chinese happy. China today has achieved what Mao always wanted. It is not China that is Russia’s little brother, but Russia that is much more dependent on China than the other way around. China will outpace Russia militarily in the next decade. Russia’s desire to play a major power role in Asia, outside of Europe, depends directly on the will of the Chinese.

No wonder that, if Trump becomes President of the United States, he will try to enlist Russia as an ally, America’s little brother, in a confrontation against the superpower China. There is a major divide between the Biden administration and the Israelis and it has something to do with China. Israel is now isolated, Israel is harming the United States. Why? The India-Middle East economic corridor, which was supposed to help the US compete with China’s Belt and Road Initiative, is lost due to unrest in the Middle East. The railway lines in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia that were supposed to create this corridor were built by China. And it was China that built the ports and everything else there. But the fact is that the US really believed that to be a leader in the modern world, it had to interact positively with the global south, with the developing world. Now the USA is caught between two chairs. In the future, the G7 will be subtracted from the G20 and a better G13 will come. This means that countries outside the G7 are becoming more important. The USA sees that China is overtaking them.

Global Review: Russia is currently being converted into a war economy. Its state fund is increasingly being used up. The then economic advisor Putin Kudrin had used this to transform Russia into a modern, economically liberal hi-tech power, but Putin used this to arm the military and use hi-tech primarily for its modernization, which is why Kudrin demonstratively resigned because of the Ukraine war. To what extent has Russia’s modernization failed, will it now become a pure war economy, can this only exist as a resource empire, but now increasingly only as a gas station and dependent on China? China under Xi was also prepared for a contract with the USA, its strategic raw materials, but also free trade and its global key mega-project New Silk Road BRI, but significantly more options for action, also has more economic and technological options than Russia-

Dr. Rahr: Your question has largely been answered. Yes, it is true that the stability funds in Russia have almost all been used up. This money will no longer be available to Russia for future modernization. Russia cannot expect foreign investment because of the war in Ukraine. Russia will be on its own. Putin will therefore not be able to make major economic reforms. Russia will continue to trade in raw materials and act destructively. i.e. Russia relies on weakening the others, this is the only way Russia can maintain relative strength. Putin wants to stop the dollarization of the global economy, cut off Europe from supply chains, and thus make economic life in the European Union massively more expensive. Together with China, he hopes to hinder Western investment on the Asian continent, Africa and Latin America. He knows exactly that his Russian population is extremely capable of suffering, as the history of this people has shown. The Europeans are not.

Global Review: It is said that Bereja wanted to introduce LIberalization and a new NEP or even a market economy in the Soviet Union. Under Khrushchev, there were also approaches to economic reform based on the ideas of the economist Liebermann. Later, the former head of the KGB and General Secretary of the CPSU Andropov intended to introduce a market economy in the Soviet Union, but retain the CP’s monopoly on power. Neither came to fruition. Would the Soviet Union then have become a successful consumer communism like the Chinese Communist Party? And finally, what would have happened if Lenin had stayed on and been successful?

Dr. Rahr: It’s true, there were many approaches to forms in the Soviet Union. After the death of Stalin, Russia was supposed to be halfway democratized. It is said that Beria wanted to introduce capitalism into Russia. But the communist power apparatus did not allow this, and Brezhnev then ruled the Soviet Union for almost 20 years. His Prime Minister Kosygin tried to carry out reforms, but the party leadership did not allow this for ideological reasons. Andropov understood when he came to power in 1982 that the Soviet Union could only survive through radical reform. With the help of the secret services, he tried to disempower the party ideologues. Andropov died far too early to make a difference. Before Gorbachev came to power and was forced to carry out reforms, the old party apparatus stood in his way for a long time. But even Gorbachev had to realize that the Soviet Union could no longer be reformed. Power was decentralized and the heads of the Soviet republics snatched the sceptre from Gorbachev’s grasp. Yeltsin did many things right, but in the end he had the elites, the economy and ordinary people against him. Putin’s reforms, on the other hand, are impressive. Under him, Russians lived better than ever before. Russia became a rich country under Putin, but experts believe that the war will cost Russia its status as an energy superpower and an economic power.

Global Review: Just as there are now attempted revivals of neoliberalism, just as libertarianism under Argentina’s Milei and Bukele in El Salvador ,also as they are experiencing an upswing as test laboratories, in Germany there is still a difference between more of the old traditional neoliberal representatives such as Blackrock-Merz and Lindner with debt brakes and Schröder- Merkel- Schäuble’s decades of „austerity policy“ versus demand-oriented, Keynesian infrastructure investments and, as extreme poles, the neoliberal economic nationalism of an AFD including Dexit and a return to the DM including Höcke’s „organic economy“, Hitlerian planned capitalist economy with concentration and labor camps that go beyond Linnemann’s forced labor demands and  instead of promotion, selection of all non- Germans and also German unworthy life including possible ethnic mass murder or mass deportation or a Wagenknecht with demand-oriented state mass investments also in the consumptive area for more social welfare, so now, in view of artificial intelligence, there are now some initial discussions by neo-communists as to whether one could not reintroduce a digital planned economy, also with a global perspective.

The central thesis is that the planned economy of theformer  time did not fail because of false assumptions about human nature, homo oeconomicus and Adam Smith’s invisible hand, but because it did not yet have the planning capacity and capability and the corresponding technologies that are now provided by artificial intelligence, big data and algorithms. China’s social bonus system is seen as a model; it is also striking that radical right-wing accelerationists such as Nick Sand are already in Beijing and Stephan Thiel, who will probably be a member of Trump’s advisory staff and perhaps also become his  industry leader in Silicon Valley in order to bring the Elon Musks, Jeff Bezzoes and Bill Gatese into line, see China as both a political and economic model.

Neo-communists also argue that every corporation draws up plans and that this can then be done on a macroeconomic level using AI. However, it is still unclear to what extent the state would then relate to the economy in this type of political economy; some neo-communist libertarians now dream that the state is no longer needed and that demand and supply could then be determined and organized by means of AI in the sense of the decentralist, anti-authoritarian reading of Marx (not the dictatorship of the proletariat, but the voluntary association of autonomous producers), even without the mediation of a state or a party using algorithms,

Old ideas of the labor theory of value will then be reborn, be it labor account calculations with the presumed average socially necessary work to be determined on the basis of the level of development of technologies and productive forces, whereby the question still remains as to who would then write and define the algorithms of artificial intelligence to determine all this, or whether artificial intelligence is seen as a self-learning generative intelligence that makes man, state, party and everything superfluous, as Yuval Hariri once claimed as the third era of human history. Possibly the next futuristic fantasies of redemption with a totalitarian and disastrous outcome, but already under discussion.

Are such ideas already being considered in Russia or is Putin more of a traditional economist who has had enough of planned economy experiments, even in a new form, i.e. at best Lenin’s NEP 2.0, but not Stalin’s direct command economy with AI? Or could such ideas also experience a boom in a further transformation of Russia into a war economy, if his new Albert Speers such as Medvedev or Glazyev or whoever do not bring the hoped-for tanks or results, after they have already issued Stalinist-like threats of discipline for armaments managers, apparently without success?

Dr. Rahr: There is no doubt that the entire world is facing absolutely new challenges, political, military, economic, but also technological. The age of AI is approaching, and there is now a theory that artificial intelligence will gain power over people, populations and countries. But today this is all still pure speculation, actually total madness. Nonetheless, these questions need to be taken very seriously. In the West today, people are saying: we, freedom-loving people, do not want to live in a world ruled by China or Russia. The Americans and Europe are prepared to prevent this „multiple“ world order, where China, Russia and perhaps other states will impose their economic model and model of rule on the world, with all their might. I myself believe that the world is facing a „new enlightenment“. We are on the brink of a new, global spiritual reformation. All that is missing is a person like Martin Luther. The old principles according to which the Western world was governed for 300-400 years have become dusty.

The question that will occupy politicians in the future is not: how to save the liberal order, how to give people even more freedom, even more individuality, even more opportunities to participate, but the question will be quite banal: how to feed 10 billion world citizens on a planet that cannot cope with or accommodate such masses of people ecologically, economically and politically. The Club of Rome should actually be addressing this question in detail, but the authority of this club is slowly dissolving, precisely because the world is moving more and more towards multipolarity. Fixed thinkers are beginning to make the grave mistake of arrogantly burying themselves behind their own ideas and rejecting and even opposing alternative opinions from hostile countries from the outset. This ignorance of alternatives and development opportunities only increases aggression in the world.

Of course, at events such as Davos or the Munich Security Conference, attempts are made to save, maintain and further develop the prevailing Western world order and security architecture. But this will not succeed. Yes, the planned economy will be introduced at a much, much higher technological level than under socialism in many countries where the population is in a large majority. In my opinion, there will be no new edition of socialism. People don’t want new wine in old bottles. People are always open to new ideas, even if they seem radical. I also don’t believe that many of today’s states have any prospects for the future. The world will be divided into blocs, not necessarily military blocs, but economic blocs that will be governed from individual centers. One such center will remain Washington, Beijing will become a second center.

And people will actually want to place themselves under the care of a mega-state, voluntarily. Ideas of freedom, democracy, equality – they were carried for centuries by the bourgeoisie, which manifested itself in Western countries 300 years ago. In today’s overpopulated world, I see the bourgeoisie slowly disappearing. Power is passing to the state and a completely new technocratic ruling elite. The bourgeoisie has reached the end of its tether. The American political scientist Fukuyama was right when he spoke of the end of history. The old ideas no longer work as models of rule. People have completely different expectations, and power in the states will soon look very different from what we could have imagined. This is the only way to solve the world’s major problems, such as stopping mass migration. Other problems are the great ecological renewal of the world, food security, raw material supplies, access to water, access to energy, education and work. Big data is the name of the dawning age.

Global Review: How do XI and Putin fit together with AI – are they rationalized away and no longer needed or after their death with lifelong rule as Avatre like Lenin in Maosloleum but now preserved in hologram or 3D like the Abbatars and exist as shells of an AI ahead. which replaces them and now gives the orders based on the highest intelligence, Big Data, optimized and almost infallible Big Data One last question about the personality cult and narcissism around Putin. Xi and related despots now also the egonarcissists like Xi, Hitler, Putin, Erdogan, Trump, Kaczynski, Kim Yongun with his pretty but equally tough dynastic women’s quota sister, Höcke, Weidel, Meloni, e3tc, – would they even let other gods exist next to them like the AI?

You shall have no other god/goddess/god/leader, nothing may exist next to them, which could be the danger of pedestal overthrow, undermining, delegitimization, desacralization and profanation, for leader, state; party; country but also the greatest commander of all times, every selfproclaimed Greatest thinker or every selfproclaimedfemale leader runs the risk of being able to judge information or processed information itself, whereby the question is whether AI supplied information must be processed by it itself or that it judges and decides AI supplied data itself or again AI the . to process the data with AI – without assessing it itself, or then again. Or whether a clique of advisors, a clique of technocrats, brings her the AI interpretations and synopses, whereby she would either rely on AI or technocrats herself without a clear view and become a believer. In the 1970s, for example, US Secretary of Defense Mc Namara fed his Pentagon supercomputer Ada with data and asked it when the Vietnam War would be over, to which Ada replied: „1968 – we won!“.

Now with more advanced quantum computers and algorithms and generative AI, it is hoped that better (mis)assessments can be made. So the question will be to what extent Xi is prepared to jealously use the AI alongside itself, to use it itself or to use a layer of AI technocrats to constantly improve and correct it, or even to become one with all the incoming data, information, ideas and suggestions, It is almost impossible to evaluate all of this yourself due to the mass of data or are technocratic analysts and algorithm writers needed to create a synopsis or is this then interpreted by AI and suggested as options for action or does Xi itself write the algorithms of an AI it trusts. Does AI then use Xi Jinping’s thoughts to create the algorithm for XI?

So then XI is the AI or Putin is the AI or the Xi JInpingthoughts or whatever. Basically, however, Xi and Putin want to be AI themselves, but must rely on them insofar as he does not want to become an avatar and be integrated into the KInetz himself. Who decides. Xi, Putin, a technocratic class, as was already claimed at the time of Galbraith’s convergence theory in management and business organization as a new class of technocrats and managers, or as Yuval Hariri wants to see AI itself as the actual regulating and determining force in all political, economic and other decisions for rXi, Putin or dictator however? And what about automated warfare? Who then makes the war decision, or if Xi or whatever makes it, to what extent does he still control the battlefield and the war? what about leaders and AI?

Dr. Rahr: Your question is relatively easy to answer. Progress cannot be stopped. Neither in China, nor in Russia, nor of course in North Korea. There are many ideas about AI in Russia. Numerous research institutes are working on it, and I believe that the KGB, as usual, has a hand in it. In short, Putin is to become immortal. There are already many rumors that Putin has several doubles. And there is some truth to the rumors. An avatar of Putin is being created. Incidentally, an artificial Putin already made a public appearance at the Russian president’s last major press conference – practically at Putin’s side. It was a spooky scene. AI can practically replace Putin right now, Putin is not ruling Russia as a live person, but already via video and the internet. I wouldn’t consider it complete nonsense if there is speculation in Russia today that Putin will visibly age in the next few years, but that this will damage his authority. In public, a Putin avatar will therefore take over the leadership of the country, send out messages and orders, take part in global political conferences via video link and possibly also election campaigns.

The original is no longer needed and the doubles are also being disposed of. A dynamic, sporty and younger Putin is to be presented and demonstrated to the public. As I said, such plans exist in the centers of the secret services. Whether they will be realized is unclear. The main aim is to secure the power of the current ruling elites. Now imagine that Putin dies in a few years, perhaps around 2037. His avatar, to which the public will become accustomed, will live on in the personality cult in Russia and continue to rule. Practically like Lenin lying in a mausoleum. Until then, the people of Russia, including the younger generation, will get used to this Putin avatar. And they will be no worse off under the avatar’s rule than they are today. And a younger ruling elite, technologically gifted functionaries, naturally from the secret services, will rule the country by means of the Putin avatar.

Incidentally, George Orwell already predicted this in his novel 1984 when he created Big Brother. This book used to be banned in the Soviet Union, but I heard back in the 1980s that the then head of the KGB, Yuri Andropov, found it very revealing. It is well known that Putin is wanted in large parts of the world. He won’t be able to travel to Europe, America or large parts of the world anyway. But his avatar will take part in the video conferences. Experiments are taking place. And the AI speaks with Putin’s voice, has Putin’s appearance, the algorithms have all been created, and there seems to be a firm political will in the president’s entourage to actually establish such an AI model of rule. Hard to beat in terms of ingenuity. Perhaps this system will not be tried out in Russia for the time being, but in North Korea. We will see, but in any case we are facing very interesting times.

Global Review: After the fall of Soviet communism, the USA had a so-called „unipolar moment“ and the political-economic ideology of Popper/Soro’s Open Society, neoliberalism, globalization, Kant’s and Lock’s free-trader logic of capitalist peace or democratic peace and Fukuyama’s „end of history“ including democratization theories and the end of the liberal-neoliberal system broke out worldwide. The Austrian school around Hayek, Friedmann, Mises and the Mt. Pellin Society was now also brought to Europe via Reagan- USA and Thatcher_-GB by means of Blair’s social democratic Third Way and Schröder’s Agenda. It was also explained that the state and the nation state (the two were also mixed up) were a relic of archaic history and that the global middle class would now be allowed to rise to an international globalization that would benefit from peace dividends, bring win-win for all and trickle down effects, especially as they would then demand „No taxation wthout representation“ from a certain GNP/capita as a democratic tipping point along the lines of the Teaparty in Boston and then demand and enforce democracy.

This is actually classic US Middle Callss ideology: While the West privatized, austerity policies, slim state, which should make fit for the Globalization, nation state and at the same time state further weakened, the CCP China has never trusted this fairy tale, all democratic approaches early on suppressed, although free trade (RCEP, while the TTIP, TPP and EU-Mercusor FTA came to nothing), economic development and infrastructure projects, first nationally and then with the global economic mega-project New Silk Road, while the neoliberal ideologues of the West continued to dismantle their nation state, and increasingly privatized, deindustrialized and outsourced the state, there were more and more modernization losers, and after not only a rust belt including a decimated working class  (see Micheal Moore’s film „Roger and Me“ as a harbinger), but now also the midle class and the American dream took the fate of Arthur Miller’s „Death of a Salesman“, which has now brought forth a wave of right-wing and left-wing radical movements, which increasingly see a model in Xi-China or Putin-Russia.

This is currently reflected in the debate about austerity policy, the debt brake, the capitalization of pensions or infrastructure construction and the Green Deal, where some are calling for Keynesian, demand-led policies, including in infrastructure, while many in the USA and the UK are now calling for a revival of neo-liberalism and a further stage of libertarianism, i.e. the complete defeat of the state. Liz Truss has already fallen quickly, as she plunged Brexit- Global Britain into a gigantic crisis at her first attempt, so that even Sunak and the City of London gave her the thumbs down and dismissed her. Now some of the neoliberals and libertarians are hoping for the authoritarian Argenitinie Mileis and the first bitcoin nation El Salvador under Bukele as a new economic model and ideological pioneer of the new Austrian school, once again in Latin America, as under Pinochet Chile as the first laboratory for the neo-Loberlaism of Milton Friedmann’s Chicago Boys. Interestingly, with a German ideologue as was the case with Chavez and his „socialism of the 21st century“ from the left.

The first Bitcoin funds are now being approved on Wall Street, just like the toxic financial products that triggered the 2008 financial crisis. Fortunately, China and the EU have so far rejected this because they still remember the previous disaster. In this context, one wonders to what extent China and Putin’s Russia will be a systemic alternative to this attempted revival of neoliberalism, which now threatens to grow into the extremism of libertarianism, with China more so than Russia. But also with regard to the role of the nation state and the economy. Do you see a systemic contradiction there?

Dr. Rahr: I agree that the multipolar world order of the future will be based on total contradictions. Whether the neoliberalism of the West, especially the USA, will become the main enemy of the global South remains to be seen. I believe that China and Russia will continue to adopt the principles of capitalism, including elements of neoliberalism, in their development. So what is meant by opposites? Quite simply: a power struggle for world domination. No matter how. Russia and China, including the BRICS states, want to replace the Washington NNN consensus with a different consensus in the future, perhaps a Shanghai consensus

The global economy will then be governed by two opposing poles. It remains to be seen which pole will ultimately prevail. It’s difficult for me to say at this stage. I only believe that the new world economic order will be installed through battles, not peace talks. We are threatened by commodity wars, the collapse of supply chains, battles over transportation corridors such as the North-East route, the Suez Canal, the Red Sea and the South Pacific. Russia will try to move away from the Western economic model and adopt the Chinese model. But what does that mean? The key element of this economic system will be a powerful start, but without the planned economy. There will be a partnership between the state and private companies. The only difference is that private companies will have to be kept politically on a leash of state and national interests. China has already created such a system. How Russia will fare economically in a few years‘ time is written in the stars. Today, the Russian economy is doing quite well and does not seem to be affected by Western sanctions. But the lifeline for Russia remains China alone. China can open Russia’s borders to the global economy, which Beijing is doing, but in the event of conflicts, China can also close these borders. in this sense, Moscow is, remains and will only be able to operate the global economy via China.

We will see how the Chinese model will be modified. The extent to which Russia, which has been shaped by Europe, will be able to adopt an Asian, i.e. Chinese, economic mentality remains to be seen. Many experts in the West say that China is far too weak to be the leader of an alternative economic order. They point out that in the last 100 years, despite dramatic crises, the West has always been able to successfully assert itself again – a well-functioning global economy without America is unimaginable to Europeans. What can be said about this? That may be true for the 20th century. But it is crystal clear that Asia is currently overtaking Europe in all respects. Demographically, technologically and in many other ways. In the global South, people no longer want to be dictated to by the West. Some countries are talking about the end of neo-colonialism. And for good. Politically, the West, Asia and the global South are taking different paths. That is the new thing about the 21st century.

Global Review: Stock market expert Sandra Navidi (Beyond Global) believes that if Trump wins the election, he will first surround himself with a squad of radical ministers, clean up the entire state apparatus, introduce a dictatorship that could only be slowed down somewhat by the checks and balances, eliminate so-called „globalist networks“, including transatlantic ones, and, like Putin, create a clique of loyal oligarchs to control the economic command heights and also act as a kind of military-economic leader, like Hitler in the 3rd Reich. Krupp and others, who also have to pay him and his family a little. To what extent could a Trump_ USA have Putin as a role model, especially as Trump a also seems to think highly of Putin and perhaps also wants to dissolve NATO in order to reach a deal with Putin so that he can free himself from his dependence on China or at least distance himself from it in order to then pounce on the main competitor in terms of world power status ala Xi-China?

Whereby the Trump system would then be a strange mixture of economic nationalism ALA Putin; Xi, also according to the ideas of the now new think tank American Compass and neoliberalism and so on. Do you believe that, if the old liberalism, universal democracy and foreign policy worthy of human rights were to be abolished, new systemic contradictions could not arise instead of an international mega-deal and a redivision of the then multipolar world into zones of influence that are then assumed to be stable and agreed with each other or America first, China first, Russia first and whatever prevents this and is only the prelude to much more brutal world power struggles, as we are already experiencing in the early stages? Isn’t this brave new multipolar world and its hoped-for world order a bit like Kautsky’s theory of „ultra-imperialism“, in which he claimed that economic monopolies and states could guarantee world freedom through agreements, which Lenin rejected in his essay „Imperialism as the Highest Stage of Capitalism“, saying that only short-term agreements were possible and that the monopolization of the economy only exacerbated the contradictions, whereby he saw himself confirmed by the outbreak of the First World War. He saw this confirmed by the outbreak of the First World War, which Kautsky had considered impossible?

Dr. Rahr: What Trump will do with America is as clear as day. On the one hand, he will pursue isolationism. He will do everything he can to strengthen America’s economy. To this end, he will form alliances all over the world. It is possible that China will become his main opponent, against whom he wants to camp out in global politics. But he will not fight for Western liberalism. He will conduct normal trade with the world’s dictators and autocrats. Trump is a pragmatist. The most important thing for him will be that Americans are satisfied with his policies. In Europe, he will ally himself with nationalist forces, especially in Eastern Europe. He will take revenge on those states, such as Germany, that want to prevent him from rising to power. He will say to Putin, Vladimir, end the war as long as you can save face. Take the old Russian territories in eastern Ukraine, which have become economically insignificant and have been completely destroyed by the war, and rebuild them for all I care, but don’t interfere in my geopolitics in Europe and Asia. If you, Vladimir, join forces with me against China, it won’t do you any harm. Putin will then have second thoughts. Oligarchs and other political forces in Russia will want to find alternative ways back into the world economy via America, or rather via Trump.

I would advise German politicians to take a close look at these scenarios and prepare for them. However, people in Germany still believe in the ultimate victory of Western liberalism, in the return of their own strength, and neglect the interesting movements and developments in the global South, in America and in Asia.

Global Review: After the question of „remigration“/ mass deportations, Weidel now follows up in the „Financial Times“:Open to Dexit. Like Le Pen with the Frexit. Interestingly, Meloni has not yet considered this. Previously, some thought it was just a demand by Höcke. Until now, many people thought Weidel was the moderate AfD with the Goldmann Sachs economic expertise. I just hope that we don’t end up with a euro crisis on top of migration. The negotiations on the economic and stability pact and what was decided there was wisely kept out of the media, even though Italy and Greece remain smouldering trouble spots. Ironically, this is also the anniversary of the death of Wolfgang Schäuble, the national hero of the last euro crisis. Dexit and DM demands could then receive a boost.

Especially as the euro, like the EU, also has a number of design flaws, the most obvious being the inability to exclude a member (NATO is similar). The bail-out ban has also been ignored since Draghi’s Whatever it takes, and in the event of a new euro crisis, the question is whether the ECB still has enough resources or whether it has already shot its powder. BSW: Has Sahra Wagenknecht also called for a Dexit? I haven’t heard that from her yet, only calls for EU reform and the abolition of austerity policies and neoliberalism.

Dr. Rahr: Yes, the crisis in German politics can no longer be denied. Some observers say that this is all normal, that there were always problems in the seventies, the eighties and the nineties. Even during the financial crisis 15 years ago, people wanted to see catastrophes. Nothing of the sort has happened, Germany has emerged from all the crises stronger than ever Finance Minister Lindner warned the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations on January 23. Germany should not be talked down to! Germany will be the world export champion again! Germany has enough strong shoulders to get out of every crisis !

The Ampel (traffic light) government also knows what needs to be done. Many listeners in the hall shook their heads at this. The business community is saying that the German economy is not doing very well. The problem is the sprawling welfare state. It is simply no longer affordable. There is also criticism that the government has become completely alienated from the people. German foreign policy is far too moralistic, far too ideological. Germany is still trying to educate other countries about democracy. People are realizing this, even in Germany, and are therefore following populists like Wagenknecht and the AfD. I see three scenarios for Germany. Scenario one: further bumbling around. The crisis cannot be overcome in this way. The SPD will probably be removed from the government, the CDU will come in, but will continue to be dependent on a coalition with the Greens. The FDP will be kicked out of the Bundestag, the Left Party anyway and the SPD will end up with 10%. Germany will experience a shift to the right. Observers hope that the shift to the right will be shaped by the CDU, not the AfD. The second scenario would be a coalition between the CDU and the AfD.

The firewall would have to be torn down for this, but the CDU will probably have no choice but to go towards the AfD in Saxony, perhaps in Thuringia. This has nothing to do with morality, little to do with democracy, it’s pure mathematics. Other coalitions with the left will probably be impossible. Germany will change, from the East. In West Germany, people will be against it, but it will be difficult to prevent the shift to the right in Germany. This shift to the right can be prevented if the third scenario takes place. The current traffic light government begins to govern the country with emergency laws. Radical parties, such as the AfD, are banned. Wagenknecht and the masses are not allowed to stand for election. All the media support this course, which will look like a coup from the outside. The government will try to act in an authoritarian manner, the main driving force. It will not be the SPD, but the Greens. The Greens may only have 12-14% support among the population, but 75% of Germany’s ruling elites are Greens.

The Greens have the secret power in Germany. This is where Germany differs from many other European countries, where things are not so simple. What does all this have to do with Russia? Answer: nothing. I don’t believe that Russia can have a direct influence on elections in Germany, on social life in Germany. Those times are over. The changes in Germany come from within the country. Trump’s re-election will cause a split between the USA and Europe. Nationalists and populists in Europe will benefit from this. Let’s see if the left-green elites in Germany can hold out against this. Germany is being shaken by many crises. The migration crisis can hardly be solved. This crisis can hardly be overcome by legal means. It will only be possible if Germany abandons its humanist policies. The energy crisis will also keep us busy for years. The West has decoupled itself from Russia. But dependence on the USA is unpleasant. Production in Germany is becoming increasingly expensive for industry.

Deindustrialization is another problem that Germany will have to deal with. And there is one more problem: Germany is not alone in Europe, but bears responsibility for many, many other European countries that have joined the European family following enlargement. Rich Germany will have to cope with the financial and economic crises in its neighboring countries. That is a mammoth task. Last but not least, Germany will have to spend a lot of money on its military. Berlin may be preparing for a war with Russia in five or ten years‘ time. I don’t believe in this war, but I do see a new arms race in Europe, which will be economically damaging for both the EU and Russia.

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