Staunton, July 30 – Sometimes to ask a question is to answer it. That appears to be the case with Aleksandr Prokhanov, the Russian imperialist writer, who like many believes the Soviet Union could have been saved by a Tiananmen-style crackdown and who now thinks that the Russian regime faces a similar threat to its existence and should respond as Beijing did.
The editor of Zavtra asks in the wake of the crackdown of July 27 and in advance of plans for a massive protest on August 4 whether “a Russian Tiananmen” is possible. He suggests the threats the Russian state faces now are a repetition of the first color revolution that destroyed the USSR and that the regime must respond harshly (zavtra.ru/blogs/vspomnim_tyan_an_men).
According to Prokhanov, last Saturday, “the liberals attacked the powers.” They didn’t want a protest, he continues; they wanted a clash with the police. And they got one, thus giving them and not the authorities “a victory” on which they hope to build just as they did at the end of Soviet times.
“August is approaching,” he writes, when people will remember what happened in 1991, when “the first color revolution” brought down the Soviet Union because of the cleverness of the opposition and the weakness and indecisiveness of the powers that were. Tragically, Prokhanov suggests, the entire scenario is repeating itself.
“Then and now the well being of people is rapidly getting worse and protests of the toilers are beginning. Then and now, technogenic catastrophes are weighing down public consciousness with a sense of no exit. Then it was Chernobyl. Now, it is the catastrophe of SuperJet, flooding in Irkutsk oblast.”
And then and now, the power elite has assisted in the destruction of the state,” the writer continues. The power structures then and again now have shown themselves to have been seriously weakened or even “paralyzed” to the point of doing nothing, thus leaving the field open to their opponents.
In this situation which could have even more fateful consequences for Russia than did the one in 1991, Prokhanov concludes, one is compelled to ask “is a Russian Tiananmen possible?” Can the regime use the resources it has to crush its opponents rather than allowing them to defeat Russia?
Prokhanov’s question has been picked up by various nationalist sites – see for example
ruskline.ru/news_rl/2019/07/30/vozmozhen_li_russkij_tyananmen/ -- and other commentators are suggesting that the Kremlin’s repressive actions last Saturday are a signal to other members of the elite that moves to crush the opposition may soon be taken (ura.news/articles/1036278568 and svpressa.ru/politic/article/239489/).
And in what could be a signal that this Saturday’s planned protest may be the occasion for “a Russian Tiananmen,” the Moscow police have warned people to stay away lest there be violence, precisely the kind of media preparation one might expect if the Kremlin has indeed decided on a Beijing-style move (politikus.ru/v-rossii/121392-policiya-predupredila-3-avgusta-buyanit-v-moskve-ne-dadut.html).