The presidential election will take place in a couple of weeks in Russia.
This is a topic of interest because the rebuilding of the Russian empire and raise of Vladimir Putin to power is a main driver The Traveler’s setting in the 1990’s.
Putin is widely expected to win again this year; the only question is by how much? The results will serve as an indicator to any potential political fractions in Russia and whether Putin’s power is weakening or if he still has an iron grip of the country.
In this sense, not much has changed in Russia from the times of Catherine the Great – only a strong ruler can govern the nation. Whether it’s a tsar, general secretary of a party (Stalin) or a president, like now, one governing head is better than the collective.
And Russia is by no means an exemption – the Chinese communist party just changed the country’s constitution making Xi Jinping a president for life. This event prompted president Trump to say – “I think it's great. Maybe we'll have to give that a shot some day."
While I don’t think this will happen in the US anytime soon, these events bring to mind a bigger question: is democracy sustainable? This system is an unnatural concept to the human mind, after all, for most of humanity’s existence there has always been one leader in a society (with very few short exceptions). Historically speaking we’re living through an experiment.
In business, church or in the army, there is always one leader. It would be unthinkable to have it any other way. And yet, the idea that a country, a sum of hierarchies, can be govern based on a majority’s vote persists.
Perhaps the western democracies are better suited for this system than many other places in the world? Or are people’s preferences here managed more efficiently? Isn’t the European Union governed by the “unelected troika”, which consists of representatives from the European Commission, the ECB, and the IMF? Hardly anyone seems to be bothered.
In The Traveler, the empire is rebuilt like a business: using influence, knowledge, power and determination.
The traits of humanity will make the world move forward. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Tom Kubiak is the author of The Traveler