Staunton, October 8 – Increasing fears in the population of the Russian Federation about how the government will use any information it obtains are causing ever more people there not to provide it and thus leaving the Putin regime without the kind of knowledge it needs to conduct even defensible policies.
There has been a growing amount of anecdotal evidence on this point, but now there is official confirmation of just how bad this situation has become: the Federal Migration Service says that it had expected “not less than a million” Russian residents to declare that they have dual citizenship but only 50,000 have done so by the legal deadline (grani.ru/Politics/Russia/m.233689.html and kommersant.ru/pda/kommersant.html?id=2583327).
Even if this disparity is atypical – after all, it involves people who may feel particularly at risk of official actions – it suggests that the Putin regime is rapidly depriving itself of the kind of information the authorities may need as more and more Russians decide to avoid sharing data about themselves with the authorities.
If such attitudes and actions spread, official sources in Russia which have always been problematic will become even more so, making it difficult if not impossible for officials there to do their jobs and for analysts both in the Russian Federation and abroad to conduct their research with any confidence that the basis data is reliable.
Rights activists clearly see this as a problem. Svetlana Gannushkina, head of the Civic Action Committee, says that many Russians now want “to minimize their ties with the state.” And Vyacheslav Postavin, head of the Migratio-21st Century Foundation, agrees, noting that people fear what the government will do with any information about themselves they provide.