Sunday, June 4, 2017

Russians Increasingly Hate Those with Undeserved Success, the Children of the Elite, Vinokurova Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 4 – Russians did not hate those who became rich in the 1990s because they had the sense that they too could achieve the same, and they do not hate the rich and powerful today who gained such status by their own efforts, Znak commentator Yekaterina Vinokurova says.

            But Russians today are increasingly angry about those whose wealth or power reflects not their own efforts but rather those who have been given these things out of line as it were, and the object of that anger are the children of the elite who are seeking to ensure their offspring remain on top (

            Those in the Russian upper reaches who are trying to arrange such outcomes for their children have seriously “underestimated the degree of hatred” their actions are causing perhaps because this hatred is directed not toward them but “toward their own children,” Vinokurova continues.

            And the current elite does not see that “a significant portion of the population” of Russia and particularly its younger generation is not ready to sit still for a situation in which “elite children inherit the posts of their parents.” 

            Instead, what is emerging as “the real national idea for Russia in the 21st century is the notion of social lifts, of the idea that to a certain degree corresponds to the American dream: He who was nothing can become everything,” the Znak commentator says.

            An important part of this is that most Russians don’t care if the children of the elite simply live off the wealth their parents have acquired: that is what they would do for their own children. What they cannot and Vinokurov suggests will not tolerate is one in which the children simply assume the positions their parents have won for themselves.

            The Moscow commentator cites a comment by the character Frank Underwood in the US television series that Americans want “’a congressman from nowhere.’”  Russians share this desire. They want to see a Russia in which “Bryansk school children will have a chance to become Duma deputies and heads of state corporations.”

            “The current popularity of young video bloggers who earn good money from ads by the way is also explained precisely by this demand for social lifts,” Vinokurova says.  “The Internet is almost the law remaining space in Russia which has not yet been taken over by the golden youth.”

            And that is also “one of the secrets of Aleksey Navalny’s attractiveness” because he has shown in the organization of his movement that those who join his cause at the bottom have a good chance to rise to the top and thus pass from unknowns to members of the opposition leader’s inner circle.

            “In this regard,” Vinokurova continues, “Vladimir Putin is turning out to be completely uncompetitive. He has a stable and rapidly aging close circle which now is thrashing about without knowing what else it should give to its own children” so that they can be the rulers of the future.

            That puts the Putin elite at odds with the desires of the Russian people, the commentator says. For Russians, the desired “model of the future” remains “a Bryansk pupil who becomes the prime minister of the head of a state corporation. Our only national idea is social lifts both horizontal with the chance for someone from Moscow to work in Yekaterinburg and the reverse and also vertical.”

            “This isn’t bolshevism,” she concludes. Rather, “it is salvation from it. Perhaps the only one.”

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