Those who, like Pavlovsky, know from the inside how the [Russian] system works, those who have seen the beast from close quarters, come back impressed by its chaotic nature. It is certainly not the case that President Putin has established a clear power channel by which decisions are transmitted down to the lower levels of the state. He has no incentive to do that. Every decision is a hostage to fortune: the clearer it is, the easier it will be to show that it was mistaken when things take a bad turn. Putin prefers to send ambiguous messages. He will have everyone guessing at the meaning of his words. In the case of things going wrong, it was simply because this meaning was not accurately interpreted. Under these conditions, chaos is bound to grow, but it is seen as productive and capable of reinforcing state power.
More importantly, a system that failed to incorporate a dimension of chaos, that pushed the irrationality of the world to the outside, would become vulnerable to that very chaos irrupting from the outside. Finally, power is not power if it is not exercised and the greatest power must be exercised against the greatest opposition, the greatest threat to political order. Power becomes all the more terrible if it is able to hold in place the permanent threat of chaos, if those under it know that, were that power to be removed, the world would immediately enter a time of unimaginable trouble and turmoil.
That is why politics in Russia can be precisely defined as the management of chaos.
In 1999, when he was Prime Minister, Putin said in a television interview: ‘Figuratively speaking, Chechnya is everywhere. Not only in the North Caucasus.’ He meant that chaos and disorder were present everywhere in Russia, with Chechnya presenting only its most extreme and visible manifestation. Today Putin could repeat the phrase ‘Chechnya is everywhere’, but with a different meaning. Now it is a symbol of nationwide stability, although stability has not replaced chaos as much as been superimposed on it.
See also:Filippo San Martino of Agliè