Beyond institutions, or What explains Yevgeny Prigozhin’s success and what will be his downfall

Here Stenka Razin drowns the unfortunate Persian princess in the Volga, and the famous folklorist and poet Dmitry Sadovnikov was so moved by this ferocious drunken boar that he wrote the famous song that Russian people have been singing for almost two hundred years – starting with the great bass Fyodor Chaliapin and ending with the last drunkard in the sobering-up station.

Here Emelyan Pugachev ruined the cities near the Urals, ripping off the skin from living people, and the sun of the Russian poem Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin wrote about him not only “The History of the Pugachev Uprising”, but also “The Captain’s Daughter”. Also wrote, where – you will agree – Pugachev is charming.

Sympathy for robbers is not the property of one Russian culture, but of the world. Here you have Schiller’s heroes, and Robin Hood, and Bonnie and Clyde, and Once Upon a Time in America, and The Godfather – the robbers are charming.

Their charm is that they always act as if they are a little (or a lot) drunk. They allow themselves much more than they usually allow themselves.

And don’t say that you don’t know this happiness. Have you ever been too inebriated to sing? When sober, you do not sing, realizing that you have neither hearing nor voice, and you do not know firmly a single text of a song until the end. And they drank – and sang, and allowed themselves something unacceptable. When sober, you remember other people with protruding parts of the body, and after drinking – well, let’s say you don’t remember it after drinking, but you already admit that holding will be good.

The charm, power and success of a robber lies in the fact that he allows himself what other people, not robbers, do not allow themselves. Many want to bomb something, kill someone, or seize some infrastructure, but usually people do not allow themselves to do something like that. But Prigogine allows this. And many people like this permission.

Robbers appear where there is no significant social institution. For example, the police.

Remember 1990’s gangsters? The people were amazing. In expensive clothes, in expensive weapons, in expensive cars, with expensive powder in his nose and surrounded by expensive women. Oh, they had a terrible charm! Many even – thanks to this charm – made good political careers.

And then they died. almost everyone. Well, except for those who still hold high positions. That is, they learned to act according to the rules! That is, he gave up the main recipe for his initial success!

The paradox is that in the early 1990s the bandits had money, good weapons, good cars and good communications, and the police had no money, no good cars, no decent communications – but the police won. Any entrepreneur will tell you that if bandits robbed his business in the early 1990s, the police started robbing him in the 2000s.

Why did the police win? Roughly speaking, because they had uniforms. Not only the form of clothing, but also the form of behavior. Bandit groups have never been more than regional, and the police have always been one for the whole country, even in its worst years.

Poorly dressed and poorly equipped people defeated well-dressed and well-equipped people for the sole reason that they had a common culture, were approximate to each other in critical situations. They will win again. Dolden the fool in uniform – they will win again.

In this sense, just as Prigogine attributes his rise to his informality, he will also take credit for his downfall.

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