Staunton, October 16 – Aggression in Russian society is “changing qualitatively,” Aleksey Tarasov says, with ordinary Russians now regularly attacking and even killing doctors and others whom they would never have lifted a finger against in the past and with an increasing share of Russians accepting this as the new normal.
As a result, the true “selfie of today’s Russia is … not Kadyrov and his mountain men, not Putin, not corruption, and not war but rather a young woman doctor who has been shot, a child attacked by a child, and the inadequate reaction of the country to these tragedies,” the “Novaya gazeta” observer says (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2016/10/14/70169-ozverenie-2016).
Individuals are increasingly attacking individual doctors or others because they feel themselves trapped by a system in which the individual is powerless and irrelevant, Tarasov says; and consequently, the drumbeat of stories about such killings must be seen as a dangerous pattern rather than a collection of individual stories.
Russians know that doctors have been told to cut the time they spend with patients, they know that the courts don’t really try people but exist to convict them. They are told to drink because there is no medicine, and they conclude that the only thing they can do is to strike out against the individual representatives of “the system.”
Others commit suicide but no longer only in their rooms alone, he continues. Some immolate themselves or hang themselves in the offices of doctors and others they believe have not helped them in the hopes that such actions will attract attention or at the very least shame those who have failed to help them.
“Officials, mayors, deputies and chief doctors were killed earlier” of course, Tarasov says; but “in the 1990s, behind such actions were commercial and criminal interests.” Now, they are being killed by those who feel themselves their victims, the result of a change in the government and in society.
“Aggression of all against all that has been spread through the air is changing qualitatively,” he says. “Its objects ever more often are becoming those against whom earlier no one would have raised their hands.”
Russians feel they can’t do anything about the powers that be and so they strike out at whoever they see as representatives of “the system,” and their aggressiveness is not sated by hating “America, national traitors, and liberals.” There is “too much hatred” for that; indeed, there is now enough “for everyone” to be a target.
“Undoubtedly, officials and doctors are completely different groups of people,” Tarasov says; but for an individual brutalized as many are, the distinction isn’t important” because “now there are no brakes,” as can be seen by comparing the crimes that got popular attention 20 years ago with those now taking place.