Staunton, Nov. 7 – For Russians raised in the Soviet period and for many who remain influenced by such people and those times, Aleksey Makarkin says, the Russian state is not something sacred as many are no suggesting as their rapid dispensing with cults in the past shows but rather a combined “threat” and “support” they simultaneously fear and rely on.
They view the state as a threat, the Moscow analyst says, because “at any moment it can punish people” without being forced to justify what it does; and they see it as a support because without the state, however inadequate it may be, life is impossible: it protects against war and it is the exclusive redistributor of resources (asparov.ru/material.php?id=639098F360DDE).
In both cases, there is no alternative and that is why it occupies such an elevated position, but it is not one that Russians won’t turn away from on occasion. The state itself has reduced the possibility for that by destroying the horizontal ties that might make the emergence of an alternative possible, leaving the population atomized relative to the state.
Those who have grown up in post-Soviet times have a greater willingness to look for alternatives and even seek to create them, but, Makarkin says, such people “are relatively few in an aging society; and the other generations view them as unintelligent and unreliable” precisely for this reason.