Any blogger does well to check whether their topic du jour has already been covered. So it was with 'virtual politics' - and not only did I find that it has been covered, I found that it had been studied exhaustively by Andrew Wilson in 2005. Mr. Wilson is Professor of Ukrainian Studies at the University College London's School of Slavonic and East European Studies. His book is titled Virtual Politics, Faking Democracy in the Post-Soviet World. So while America sleeps, Russia adapts KGB-style maneuvers to sustain artificially the central authoritarianism that was the real, militaristic foundation of Kremlin rule in the Soviet, Bolshevik and even Tsarist empires.
A list of some chapters will give an idea:
- 1. 'Active measures': a Russian Tradition
- 2. Politics as Virtuality in the Post-Soviet World
- 3. The 'Political Technologist': Machiavelli as Corporate Adviser
- 5. Politics as Theatre, Disguising the State Holding Company
- 7. Dishing the Opposition
- 8. Inventing the Opposition etc.
Some Americans are already wising up; Rubio's questioning of Tillerson mentioned 'active measures' without being too specific, but the reference could only have been to the Russian practice. The FBI investigation of Paul Manafort and his work for Viktor Yanukovych may be a healthy sign. Yanukovych features prominently in Wilson's book.
For a sense of where the United States may be heading, Andrew Wilson's book, Virtual Politics: Faking Democracy in the Post-Soviet World is recommended reading.