Cover Osteuropa 7/2005

In Osteuropa 7/2005

The Oligarch as Enemy of the People
The Use of the Khodorovskii Case for the Putin Regime

Lev Gudkov, Boris Dubin

Deutsche Fassung


The Yukos trial is a yardstick for the state of politics and society in Russia. Analysis of public reaction to Mikhail Khodorovskii’s arrest, the mass media campaign against him and his trial reveal how the proceedings unfolded to form a seamless transition to the authoritarian subjugation of politics, economics and society that Putin and his following of spooks are pursuing. The uninformed masses provide the state with reliable support. Phenomena thought to have been overcome – friendfoe logic, a militarized defence mindset and Orwellian double-think – are returning. The term “oligarch” has been transformed into an appellative figure that fulfils a function similar to that of the earlier formulation “enemy of the people”. At the same time, the population is reacting to developments with growing cynicism. This cynicism is undermining the basis of Putin’s regime and destabilizing his concept of “managed democracy”.

(Osteuropa 7/2005, pp. 52–75)