Yesterday I asked the question "Is Vladimir Putin surrounded by yes-men?", which was promptly closed for being primarily opinion-based. I thought this one was worth a discussion.
I'm interested in this question because I have the intuition that authoritarian forms of governments are by nature bound to make serious mistakes due to their close-mindedness (in short). To me, the case of Putin's Russia appears like a good example of this vague intuition, so I'd like to know about any evidence confirming or contradicting it. Let me emphasize that the point is not about criticizing or judging, it's about understanding the culture and processes in which this particular government makes decisions (needless to say, this is definitely on-topic for this site).
- The lack of focus mentioned by Ekadh Singh in a comment could easily be solved, if this is a serious issue. In general I'm happy to edit the question, of course.
- I'm aware that the question can be perceived as oriented, especially in the current context.
- I would emphasize that the hypothesis that I submit in the question could in theory be disproved as well as confirmed, i.e. there could be evidence in either direction.
- I'm not really satisfied with the use of the word "yes-men" in the title question but I didn't find any better way to summarize the question (suggestions welcome).
- As far as I understand, the main problem is the one mentioned by Italian Philosopher in the comments: the question is hard/impossible to answer objectively due to the secretive nature of the Russian government.
- I would argue that there are certainly various publications written by people specialized in Russian politics which could, if not answer it clearly, at least bring relevant information to the question. Case in point: the second link in Fizz' answer.
- Closing questions immediately because the first few active members who see it don't think it can be answered is problematic: most questions about politics are subjective to some extent, and deciding whether a question is "objectively answerable" is itself subjective. I was lucky that Fizz managed to write an answer just before the question was closed, but other people who may have interesting things to say about the topic are less likely to find it once it's closed and they wouldn't be able to provide an answer anyway.
- Incidentally, I suspect that this perpetuates the US/Western-centric bias of the site: most active users are knowledgeable about Western politics so they are more likely to close questions about other countries as "not objectively answerable", thus reinforcing the bias and making it harder for users from other backgrounds to participate.