Xi and Putin or the condemnation of pride

How far can Xi and Putir carry their pride without losing everything, without being a problem for their countries and the whole world?.

07 October 2022 Friday 22:30
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Xi and Putin or the condemnation of pride

How far can Xi and Putir carry their pride without losing everything, without being a problem for their countries and the whole world?

The era of the strong leader, alpha male and masked tyrant, pushes back democracy. Demagoguery, the constant promise of simple solutions to complex problems and, therefore, impossible to apply, convinces citizens that freedom does not come from voting and free will, but from economic, social and physical security.

God, country and family are the ideological vertices on which contemporary tyrannies are built. The tyrant, even if he is neo-communist and neo-fascist, leans on this holy trinity. From the top of the triangle he dreams that history will give him the opportunity to create a new world, the world in which he will live his homeland and his subjects will procreate. He lives in Adamism, the tendency to create something without taking into account previous progress.

Putin has contempt for Gorbachev and Xi for Deng Xiaoping, the leaders who dared to reform what seemed irreformable and contributed to a better world.

Gorbachev and Deng changed the morphology of the state with the aim of achieving collective material growth. The priority was to combat poverty, build a middle class, extend welfare. To do this they opened wide spheres of freedom in regimes that were autocratic and ruthless. In the Soviet Union of 1985 and in China of 1978, silence and the sacrifice of the proletariat prevailed. The communist creed sacrificed the individual on the altar of a false collective good.

Xi and Putin squander the achievements of their predecessors. They have put economic growth at the service of national identity, that is, their particular identity. They are the ones who decide what is right and what is wrong. Like other tyrants throughout history, they shape the national character. They rule from order, tradition and fear, that is, from orthodoxy, supremacy and submission.

Lenin is Xi's god and his gospel is the constitution of the Communist Party. Putin raises the cross of the Orthodox God on the battlefields of Ukraine, but he has no morals, his only motivation is conquest, the same as the satraps and khans who razed the lands that he now burns again.

Xi and Putin have economic problems and have made huge mistakes that make them even worse. Xi, for example, in addition to imposing long and very strict lockdowns to tackle the pandemic, has eliminated private initiative. Do not trust capitalism. He believes that collective wealth weakens the party. That is why he forces the businessman to produce within the conditions imposed by the partisan bureaucracy. China is no longer governed from the ministries, but from the commissions of the Communist Party. President Xi maintains a dull and hard arm wrestling with Prime Minister Li Keqiang, a disciple of Deng.

Putin is freer than Xi. He does not have a ruling class, a nomenclature to which he submits. Putin is the party, the Parliament and the Armed Forces. Xi is also the head of the military and legislature, but Li Keqiang is not alone. Many veterans of power take issue with Xi's nationalism and messianism. Also the big businessmen would like to recover the freedom of ten years ago.

Russia, however, is a much less complex and sophisticated society. The oligarchs owe everything to Putin. The challenge is paid with prison or death. There is no rule of law that protects them. They have no alternative but complicity.

China is governed from Zhongnanhai and Russia from the Kremlin. Power is vertical and is exercised without mercy. There is no other objective than to protect it at all costs and everything is sacrificed to achieve it, starting with reason.

Glory, Xi and Putin think, can only be achieved by those who are never merciful. The despot, surrounded by advisers who owe him their lives, loses sight of reality, governs defensively and paranoia haunts him.

Next week Xi is very likely to obtain a third five-year presidential term or, what amounts to the same thing, the approval to rule until death or betrayal, just like Putin.

To the readers of this newspaper, to the citizens of a liberal democracy, Xi and Putin may seem like characters from a fantastic novel, a dystopia impossible to replicate in their world of well-being and guaranteed rights.

Xi and Putin live in the same imaginary world as the Democrats who vote for Meloni, Bolsonaro, Trump and Le Pen. The tyranny of command and control, the nostalgia of the barracks regime, only makes the powerless happy. That is why Xi and Putin are a danger. If the old Chinese wisdom does not prevail at next week's congress, we will see a more self-centered and tyrannical Xi for the next five years. The same will happen to Putin as long as he remains in the Kremlin and the world will be less habitable. Neither of them is humble.

Can there be humility in a contemporary leader, even if he is a Democrat? We don't know, but he would be nice. Humility consists in listening without presupposing, in being willing to learn from everyone, without inferiority complexes or narcissism. The exercise of power in a transversal way facilitates knowledge and growth. Proud verticality imposes errors and tyrannies. So simple and so complicated.



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