Sunday, February 10, 2019

Only the Russian Powers that Be Aren’t Reacting to Their Falling Ratings, Shelin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 9 – In what Sergey Shelin describes as “the main surprise of the first months of 2019,” almost everyone in Russia is talking about and responding to what they see as a new situation arising as a result of the declining ratings of Vladimir Putin and the entire Russian government except the regime itself which appears largely indifferent.

            Most regimes, the Rosbalt commentator points out, respond at least rhetorically to indications that they do not have as much support as they had earlier. But the Putin regime has “its own agenda and lives according to it without considering whether it is close to the day-to-day concerns of the people” (

            That approach appears to be based on the idea that ultimately if something matters to the powers that be, it will matter to the population. But new polls suggest that is not the case: the Kremlin is focused on Venezuela just now, but the population is almost entirely indifferent to what is going on there, focusing instead on its own concerns.

            In short, Shelin says, the world of those in power and the world of the Russian population are increasingly separate and do not intersect.   And those in each of these worlds go about their business largely indifferent to what those in the other world think and do. And that means something potentially very dangerous:

            “The ability of the powers that be to impose on the subjects their intellectual and living priorities is declining … This is dictated by the natural course of events … But live divided by agendas in this way cannot continue for too long. The bosses and the people need to remember about each other.”

Otherwise the situation will spin out of control in unpredictable ways.

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