Staunton, November 28 – In an unguarded interview this week, the Russian interior minister, Vladimir Kolokoltsev, said that the Russian authorities will continue to tighten the screws against all who oppose the Kremlin’s line, a position that some are celebrating because they do not understand its full implications, Sergey Aleksashenko says.
First of all, the Moscow economist and commentator says, Kolokoltsev’s interview (ntv.ru/peredacha/Pozdnyakov/m50720/o369196) shows that “the powers that be have tightened the screws, are tightening them now and will continue to do so in the future” (echo.msk.ru/blog/aleksashenko/1666280-echo/).
That is, the commentator says, “the powers that be consider normal and connect to persecute and limit the rights of people, to do so without cause, to denigrate and kill those whom they consider it necessary to remove … and who are clearly declaring that this will continue in the future.”
Second, Aleksashenko says, this “tightening of the screws is being carried out against a minority who prevent the majority from being satisfied with the life which state television channels show.” A little while ago that was Pussy Riot, then it was Navalny and Nemtsov; “today, it is the long distance truck driver and those who do not consider that ‘Crimea is ours.’”
It clearly hasn’t entered Kolokoltsev’s head that he could become a member of this persecuted minority (“possibly in the company of some of his colleagues in the government) and the day after that Putin could become the minority. And those who will become the majority will remember [his] recipe] and tighten the screws” against the ever new minority.
“It is sufficient,” the commentator says, “to recall Yezhov, Yagoda, Beria, Ceaucescu, Honnecker, Qadaffi …”
And third – and this is perhaps the most disturbing thing, Aleksashenko says – “tightening of the screws is the conscious line of behavior of the authorities and the minister doesn’t need any telephone calls or orders from Putin: he himself knows what and when it is necessary to act in this way.
That is evidence that “not very much separates Russia from mass repressions. Putin already and possibly for a long time doesn’t need to give orders to anyone about how much the screws must be tightened. There was never a shortage [in Russia} of those ready and able to do so.”
“I have no doubt that as the economic situation gets worse … the number of such indicatiotns will increase. For it is necessary to find the guilty and in this the Rotenberg ‘Plato system’ doesn’t work, in Omsk, the city administration doesn’t have money to buy fuel for city buses, and throughout the entire country, clinics and hospitals are refusing to provide free help.”
Someone must be found guilty of all of this, even if it is only to protect for a time those who really are.
“Putin doesn’t have to give any orders” for this to happen. “This will happen without him. He isn’t needed for this. He is needed to stop this process but it is well understood that he will not do this because to pull back from this would mean to begin to listen to the minority, to conduct dialogue, and as horrible as it is to imagine to make concessions.”
“A more horrible thought for the Russian president does not exist.”