Staunton, June 14 – There are many ways in which Putin’s Russia is not like Hitler’s Germany, Russian poetess, writer and commentator Alina Vitukhnovskaya says, including not unimportantly three that explain reason people in the two countries conformed to the demands of their rulers (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5B2203FC93B90).
First of all, she says, “in the Third Reich, the majority of citizens at a certain moment really believed in the postulates of propaganda, the success of plans for conquest and on the whole the policy of ‘the party and the government.’ In other words, support for the Nazi regime by Germany’s citizens was not passive-aggressive as in Putin’s Russia but immediately active.”
Second, Vitukhnovskaya continues, “quantitively, the number of active supporters of the National Socialist regime significantly exceeded the number of such people in the Russian Federation.” And third, Hitler’s regime before the war was able to offer its citizens at least at an illusory level far more than Putin can offer his.
“Summing up,” she says, “the tactic of conformism in the absence of a well-thought-through strategy inevitably leads to failures both in the short and medium term not to mention that it makes any long-term plans simply impossible to achieve.”
Vitukhovskaya’s most important insight here is that many if not all Russians do act in a passive-aggressive fashion, a kind of behavior in which the individual does not directly oppose the demands of those in power – indeed, he or she may seek to avoid direct confrontation lest the regime respond – but acts in a conformist way without any enthusiasm.
That in turn means that any support is far thinner and more fragile than many imagine and that a shock to the system could destroy it far more quickly than anyone now imagines.