Staunton, April 25 – By attacking the Telegram messenger service, the Putin regime has not only revealed its reactionary nature and generated its own nemesis in the form of a population appalled by what it is doing but has generated its own nemesis, a Russian people which now views the regime as an object of scorn and laughter, Lev Shlosberg says.
The Yabloko politician says that the attack on Telegram shows “the total inadequacy of the Russian authorities. They are absolutely out of date, a quality that guarantees their inevitable political defeat” because “strictly speaking, they do not understand the nature of the world they are living in” (gubernia.pskovregion.org/columns/cifrovoe-soprotivlenie/).
“The Soviet nature of the Russian authorities does not allow them to look forward. Today, the Russian powers are a machine turned to the past.” Its “idee fixe is absolute control over citizens via the total suppression of the rights and freedoms of the individual.” It requires from them only “subordination and obedience.”
Aleksandr Zharov, the head of Roskomnadzor, the organization that has attacked Telegram, speaks about “the degradation” of the latter. But what has degraded is in fact the regime itself. Its minions “have shown themselves enemies of progress” who cannot function in the modern world.
Instead, Slosberg says, they have retreated into their “cave-like besieged fortress” and are animated by “an organic hatred of freedom and human rights.” Such a regime “cannot have any future.”
The Russian authorities, he continues, “are above all dangerous for the citizens of Russia. they are depriving almost 150 million people of a normal present and thus a normal future. The real ideology of the Russian authorities is obscurantism: they do not have any historical perspective but are capable of fucking up the lives of all who have to live under them.”
Not surprisingly, this generates “the strongest natural human protest” because the attack on Telegram affects the daily life of millions in ways that make no sense; and they recognize that such an attack will inevitably fail. They see the harm the regime is wreaking, and they also see the ease with which they personally can do an end run around its prohibitions.
“Millions of people,” Shlosberg says, “have chosen the simple and correct path: they have retained for themselves the possibility of using Telegram by simple technological means.” Indeed, evidence of the government’s failure came immediately: in the first week, the number of Telegram users grew by almost a quarter.
And this “increase in the number of people suffering from the illegal and unjust government pogrom in the Internet logically and quickly is increasing the number of the opponents of the powers that be.” Thus, “in trying to destroy freedom,” the Putin regime has “broadened the space” in which Russians can act freely.
Perhaps the best evidence of this is that Russians have begun to laugh about Roskomnadzor, calling it “Roskom-shame, Roskom-pogrom, Roskom-bedlam, Roskom-bardak, Roskom-degradation and Roskom-failure.” Laughter, after all, “is he most powerful weapon against a dictatorship. A dictator who is laughed at is condemned to defeat.”
“The hunt for Telegram … has shown that the Russian powers today are a dead end branch of political development, one dangerous for all humanity.” But it is hardly unexpected that officials would pursue this given that the president of the country views the Internet as a CIA plot.
He may but society does not, Shlosberg says. And faced with a choice of “returning to the cave or the right to freedom, [Russian] society is choosing freedom. Intuitively because it feels right and that means it is. That is what good sense dictates. Good sense against obscurantism is the essence of what is occurring in our country.”
The regime, of course, is responding just as one would expect: It has launched an investigation for extremism into the newspaper, Pskovskaya guberniya, in which Shlosberg’s articles regularly appear (svoboda.org/a/29189514.html).