In North Korea, “it is not excluded a military coup”


В Северной Корее "не исключен военный переворот"

According to the expert Pierre Rigolo, we still do not know for sure how the North Korean state apparatus, although to obtain information about the society and the country has become easier.

Libération: How would you characterize the North Korean regime?

Regulo Pierre (Pierre Rigoulot): Although now this country is the totalitarian world, it should be considered as part of the Communist system. This is evidenced by its official name: Democratic people’s Republic. In this perspective, her actions seem to be less unpredictable, and as for nuclear weapons, remember how the Soviet camp used it as a means of pressure, not intending to actually use it. North Korean institutions bear the stamp of Leninism: one party, a pyramidal structure, the obligatory ideology. However, North Korea has distanced itself from communism since the 1970s.

— What can you say about the development of the country?
— You may call it a third world country. Despite the ideological control, there are universities, strong educational system. After the famine of 1995-1998 distribution system of food brought to mind. The shadow economy developed, people learned to get out on their own. Appeared private markets, some so large that they are visible from the satellite. The economic situation is very difficult, but it is not getting worse. The harvest in 2014 was the best in the last 20 years.
After coming to power, Kim Jong-UN four years ago, there have been reforms, in particular in the field of collective farms. But living conditions in villages and small towns of this are no better. The capital remains a showcase of the country, there lives the leadership and the majority of those who support caste, which supports the regime. Anyway, eyewitnesses say about the increase in the number of cars, restaurants and well dressed people in medium-size towns like the port of Wonsan (300 000 inhabitants, is located on the West coast of the country — approx.ed.).

— What is the share of the shadow economy?

— There has been a rapid growth in the shadow of formal institutions. For example, you open a restaurant party Committee, but a representative of the latter for a small fee allows you to conduct business in the capitalist way.

The result is almost wild capitalism, which leads to the enrichment of receiving bribes of party leadership. One gets a little crazy the situation: private enterprise is banned by the regime, but ensures its survival.

— Is there still a caste model?

— Yes, people still locked in a rigid caste system that is almost genetic heritage because it is associated with how behaved your ancestors. If you are lucky enough to be in the top 10% close to the regime, you will be able to get rich.

At the same time, nobody has the right to choose their place of residence, work and study. To live in Pyongyang is a privilege. And if you show enough enthusiasm, the demonstrations in support of the regime of the district Committee of the party may force you to move to the village with the other unworthy of trust or even items to send to camp.
According to conservative estimates, charges of treason were brought against about 100 000 people and their families. Behind bars you can hold until then, until you again become an ideological “common sense”. But there are small camps where you can send in a few weeks for minor offences.

— How do we become aware of what is happening in the country?

— The emergence of mobile phones has changed a lot. Information about the country appears on foreign websites. Is this thread and in the other direction, despite the isolation and limitations. Article and photos change the perspective of humans. There are also many workers who work abroad in China, Russia or Qatar. Information from the external world undermines the regime. But to organize a revolt would be very difficult. People are closely monitored and punished for any misconduct. Hope, perhaps, is leadership that is not experiencing for themselves the threat and therefore could risk.

— Kim Jong-UN is now 33 years old, and the education he received abroad. Whether he wants to run the country just as it did his father and grandfather?

— He understands the need for reform, but at the same time, and the risk of change. If a totalitarian state is trying to change, at this point, it were most vulnerable. The regime receives the support of China, which need only one thing: stability on the Peninsula. The nuclear program is not only a continuation of the logic of “one against all”, but a double-edged sword: if you make promises to raise defenses and to improve the situation in the economy, but the results are late, the discontent of the population may increase. We deal with the third generation of the Kim dynasty, which gradually begins to fade. Doubtless when Kim Il-sung cult of the great leader has faded somewhat even under Kim Jong Il. So continue to hold on to the old rhetoric are unlikely to succeed.

— Should I wait for restructuring and the overthrow of Kim Jong-UN?

— Hard repression among senior management and the preservation of old structures does not indicate such a possibility. Just by “cleaning” were 140 people, including at the highest leadership echelons. According to eyewitnesses, officials not too want to climb the hierarchical ladder, because at the top can be very dangerous.

In the mode everything is so vague that it is impossible to eliminate the threat and Kim Jong-UN, if he wants change. The line between military and political power is very opaque, and might even a military coup. One party ideologist, took advantage of the trip to China to run a mission in South Korea. He was practically on top of the state apparatus, although he was not agree with the position.

Today we have access to a range of information sources, but even less is known and what is happening in the inside political machine. The removal of Kim Jong-UN can be very cruel.


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