Staunton, May 3 – Russia is rapidly descending into “a swamp of illegality and unconstrained banditry” in large measure because those features of the Donbass regimes Moscow has created are rapidly spreading back into and across the country, according to Arkady Babchenko.
The Russian journalist says that he predicted this when the Kremlin launched its efforts to create a “Novorossiya” in 2014 because the absence of the rule of law in the various entities Moscow imposed in the eastern portion of Ukraine would inevitably have an impact on life in Russia itself (echo.msk.ru/programs/personalnovash/1972186-echo/).
Attacks on people and property, bank robberies, and stealing from ATMs have become “almost a daily occurrence. The law isn’t functioning. It still exists to some degree but it is being reduced in importance ever more.” And even law enforcement officials acknowledge that they are not able to fight either organized or street crime.
If the country doesn’t change its domestic policies soon, Babchenko continues, it awaits “the fate of Somalia.” And while few want to acknowledge it, “the level of criminality in Russia now exceeds the vaunted ‘wild 1990s.’” Soon people will avoid going out at night or even without the company of others.
According to the Russian commentator, “the current regime doesn’t need security and legal order” because it shares the values of the criminals that the only thing that matters is getting rich by whatever means are possible. Law for them is just one more obstacle and, when they can, they ignore it or trample upon its principles.
Babchenko is only the latest Russian writer to warn about this. Earlier, Aleksandr Nevzorov said that those who had experienced the lawlessness of the DNR and LNR represent “a direct threat to Russian citizens” at home, first in the southern portions of the country and then everywhere including St. Petersburg (znak.com/2017-02-09/nevzorov_vs_rf_dolzhny_prisoedinitsya_k_voyskam_ato_v_donbasse).
Russians who have fought in the Donbass, Nevzorov said, “have gotten a taste for easy money, easy blood, and easy opportunities for satisfying themselves,” in short, all “the criminal joys.” And they don’t forget these when they return home, yet another way that Putin’s war in Ukraine is harming Russia.