Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, parallel lives and destinies

There are nine months between the dates of October 7, 1952 and June 15, 1953, the days when Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping came into the world. They will be the children of a generation that will see the socialist dream fall apart.

It is a coincidence in time, but the first signs of the model crisis are on June 16, 1953, the day after Xi Jinping was born.

The construction workers of East Germany protested against the Fordian constraints of their work, and against the reduction of salary in case of failure to achieve the expected results. The Soviet tanks would end the riots, leaving more than a hundred dead on the streets of Berlin.

Xi Jinping was born from the red aristocracy, his father having been a high exponent of the party who would be dismissed by the CCP during the Cultural Revolution and who who would spend many years of his life fighting the oblivion of his family.

It is said that Xi’s application to join the party was rejected seven times before being accepted.

Once accepted, he would begin an inexorable rise to power by displaying a rare ability to weave nets among friends, bring down enemies, set himself up as a modern Saint – a just proponent of morals and fighter of corruption.

Xi Jinping’s world witnessed Shenzen’s free market turnaround and special areas for production and trade.

Putin grew up wild and poor. He was ambitious, he graduated in law and entered the state administration, his great aspiration. He worked in the security services as he saw the Soviet Union collapse from his office in East Germany.

This tells of his disappointment and his sense of bitterness and defeat.

He had a career as a bodyguard first and advisor to Mayor Sobkak in St. Petersburg, before the crazy and incoherent parable that led him to be Yeltsin’s dolphin, become prime minister and then president.

Both men came from the same generation and had the same frustrations. The collapse of the world they had known as young people, the problems with the apparatus of power and the obsessive desire to be part of it.

Once power had been reached by chance, or luck, the ambitions of eliminating possible rivals were common to both men, first in the party and then in the pro-democratic society that ensued. It would see the constitutional reforms that would allow both to govern until death.

Xi Jinping fought Chinese market capitalism and wanted to regain control of the country’s development and make big tycoons slow down. Those who rebelled were expelled or executed.

China slowly closed in on itself as it had been for hundreds of years previously. Covid has also seen a return to autocracy as a discipline and rule.

Putin’s Russia is poor in ideas and rich in raw materials. The country lives by sitting on oil wells and gas extraction plants. Putin replaces enemies with friends, but the country is stuck in investments and modest growth.

If life expectancy is an indicator of overall well-being, we observe that in Russia people do not live above seventy-two on average. Putin allies himself with the Orthodox Church, speaks of a return to traditional values ​​and dreams of the union of a Pan-Slavic and Russian-speaking world.

Putin and Xi Jinping are the last to be raised during the Cold War; survivors and veterans feed on a deep desire for redemption. They will be the last men to be children of that confrontation, and this phase is the last chapter of the Cold War.

Other tools are needed to face a final analysis and hazard a prediction. Francis Fukuyama is not a comfort, his interpretation of the end of history and the emergence of a liberal and democratic world is halfway between a desire and a warm winter blanket that many have wanted to believe.

Better the thoughts of Alexander Kojève, French philosopher of Russian origin, and teacher of a generation of intellectuals such as Raymond Queneau, Georges Bataille, Raymond Aron, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Jacques Lacan. Kojève observing the conflict for the world order, sensed that it would end with the overcoming of the state and the affirmation of a new post-state and mercantile economic-legal sovereignty.

Time has actually shown that the economics of value production chains have made politics and ideology obsolete if it is economic equivalence (see China) that replaces the idea of ​​equality. The contradictions in themselves of the socialist model were already shown when thinking back to the workers’ revolts of 1953 that we wrote about, the theme that triggers the clashes is the quantity of production and not the quality of work.

Here the destinies of the two countries separate. Kojève in the 1960s described the future that will come as a conflict between the north and the south of the world and not west and east. Xi Jinping’s China has already adhered to the prevailing Western economic model, which sees its North Star in the growing production of value.

Welfare guarantees the consensus in the new bourgeoisie, which agrees to pay the increasing state taxes and fees at the usurious price of a lack of participation in decision-making processes.

Putin’s Russia is the new south of the world. Rare technological excellence and raw materials are close to becoming obsolete by green revolutions. Only the legacy of the Soviet bomb remains to threaten the world.

Putin does not appear to be the king of the new Congo, like Xi Jinping of a new England, but the fate of the two men strays from their common point of origin and so do their nations.

China is at stake and Russia is probably lost for two generations after the Ukrainian invasion.

The article was originally published on the Italian language site http://www.altriorienti.com

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