Staunton, March 13 – The secret of the coexistence of Vladimir Putin and the Russian population is that they have entirely different interests and don’t care about what the other is doing as long as it doesn’t directly affect them, Sergey Shelin says. But if they were ever to intersect, the consequences could be serious.
There are obvious reasons for the indifference of the population, the Rosbalt commentator says. “It is impossible to destroy democracy when it doesn’t exist,” and therefore the amendments to the constitution don’t strike most Russians as worth their attention. And no one thought Putin was going to leave office (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2020/03/13/1832634.html).
“Is an outburst of dissatisfaction among the citizenry possible? he asks rhetorically. “Completely, but only if its current interests and expectations are affected.” If the epidemic spreads, if prices jump, and if the government plays games with the indexing of key benefits, the people would head to the streets. But today “there are no causes for such a development.”
Not only does the Putin regime have the resources to deal with the situation, but Putin himself, on the basis of the pension age debacle if no other, recognizes how dangerous it could be for him to take such actions. Moreover and perhaps decisive in this case, the Kremlin leader isn’t especially interested in or focused on such issues.
He has continued to focus on foreign policy and especially the fighting in Syria, issues polls show that are of little concern to the Russian people, at least at present. And when there are reports about his supposed attention to issues of popular concern, they are almost always pro forma rather than real, Shelin suggests.
That pattern allows for the conclusion that “the circle of reflections and sphere of interests of the head of Russia simply does not intersect with the interests and thoughts of the ordinary Russian,” the commentator continues. They live in different worlds, and that may allow them to continue to coexist with one another.