Saturday, November 3, 2018

Resurgence of Class Conflict in Russia Could Easily Lead to Violence, Solovey Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 2 – Up to now, Russian society has preferred to keep its protests peaceful, Valery Solovey says; but the re-emergence of conflicts between increasingly distinct social classes may change that and make violence more common and thus a greater problem for the powers that be.

            In a Facebook post, the MGIMO professor and commentator lists six reasons for his disturbing conclusion (

            First of all, he says, “the conflict is reviving in the crudest and most open form, as the antagonism of a privileged minority and the destruction of the rights of the increasingly impoverished majority.”

            Second, “national wealth via government mechanisms is being redistributed in favor of an extremely small minority,” with the majority largely left out as the minority openly pursues the destruction of the social state on which Russians have long relied.

            Third, Solovey continues, “the pension reform became for society a signal that the supreme power {i.e., Vladimir Putin] is no longer defending it” against the boyars.

            Fourth, the various mechanisms for dampening class conflict “have ceased to work. The situation of small and mid-sized business is becoming worse, and the still small middle class is contracting in size. Propaganda is no longer the anesthetic it was.

            Fifth, changes in political consciousness are leading to changes in political behavior, as the September regional elections showed. “Up to now society prefers conventional and peaceful means of protest.”

            But sixth, the psychological problems of individuals which led to the Kerch shooting and the attack on the FSB office in Arkhangelsk could easily grow into mass phenomena because in each case what drove these individuals to act is affecting far larger groups as well. 

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