Staunton, July 19 – The report earlier this week that “the Kremlin still has not succeeded in thinking up an image of the future on which Vladimir Putin can run in the 2018 elections” (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/07/kremlin-still-unable-to-come-up-with.html) is exceptional under Russian conditions, Rosbalt commentator Sergey Shelin says.
But behind it is an even deeper problem, he argues. While ordinary Russians are looking to the future somewhat more confidently than they did a year ago, they are not doing so because of anything the government has done or is promising. They are adapting to survive rather than counting on the Kremlin to save them (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2017/07/18/1631625.html).
As recent polls show, Shelin continues, “tens of millions of people are somehow adapting to new conditions: some are going into the shadow sector. Others are feeding themselves from their gardens, and others are learning to do without quality food and goods. But [none] are getting any help from the state.”
Instead, “from the state, the ordinary man receives only bad news and bad promises. It raises his communal services and transportation fares, it forces him to pay for what he used to get for free, it bombs him with plans for ever more offensive prohibitions and burdens – from bans on smoking to punishments on the Yarovaya laws.”
Today, for the ordinary Russian, is hard, Shelin says. Tomorrow threatens to be even worse. As a result, “it is perfectly normal that Vladimir Putin doesn’t have ‘an image of the future.’ He shouldn’t, because his subjects don’t have ‘an image of the future’ either” – or at least one that like his is only about survival.