Staunton, September 3 – The Russian authorities have often used the siloviki to frighten the population, but now the population is not so much frightened as infuriated by the siloviki, and members of the force structures are now seeking to frighten the authorities instead, according to Aleksey Polukhin, the editor of Moscow’s Novaya gazeta.
At the start of this month, he argues, “historical time has accelerated and shifted into an online regime. In courts, investigation offices, and the corridors of power are being decided the fates” not only of officials but f he country “which is now feverishly vacillating between the line separating two parties” (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2019/09/03/81823-tovarisch-mayor-to-golyy).
“No, these are not the siloviki and liberals” as many might expect, Polukhin says. Instead, the two are “the siloviki and all the rest.” In the wake of the Moscow protests and the cases arising from them, “the siloviki decided that they could dictate their will to everyone else” by using their “classical” technique of a false conspiracy among them to spread fear.
That they should try to do so was logical given that such methods had always worked before, but “not this time.” No one was frightened, only infuriated. The people became angry, and the authorities have had to clean up the mess that the siloviki had made in the course of the protests in order to restore order.
Polukhin says that “not one of the sides is close to victory, but it seems that right now, the siloviki are as never before close to defeat.”