Staunton, March 18 – The collapse of the Russian protest movement in 2011-2012, a movement in which there were people of wildly different political positions who agreed only on the elections, offers an important lesson, Fedor Krasheninnikov says. “Any fraternization of the democratic opposition with chauvinists in Russia can’t end well.”
It is especially important to recall this now, the Russian commentator says, because some are talking about reviving that movement on the same basis as the democrats and the chauvinists are both angry at Putin. But everyone must remember that they are angry for very different reasons (openmedia.io/exclusive/pochemu-za-5-let-posle-kryma-soratniki-po-bolotnoj-stali-vragami/
Putin understood that and acted accordingly. “In the spring of 2014, Putin offered to Rusian society and the entire world a new model of his regime,” no longer “a provincial authoritarianism” but rather “a chauvinist dictatorship proud of its aggressiveness, afraid of no one, ready to send ‘polite people’ anywhere, to expand its borders in all directions and to threaten America with rockets.”
For the chauvinists, this was enough to cause them to shift from the side of the protesters to that of the Kremlin. At the same time, “one must not fail to stress that this was no so much their unqualified shift to the side of Putin.” Instead, Putin “in the search of new ideas and a means of saving his regime,” chose to make use of chauvinism.
Those democrats thinking about forming a new alliance with chauvinists should remember how Putin played them last time – and how his search for support led him to be even more aggressive than might otherwise have been the case.