Friday, January 19, 2018

Putin Likely Views Mass Protests as an Chance Not for a Maidan but for a Russian Tiananmen, Pavlova Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 19 – Many opponents of Vladimir Putin see his build of repressive machinery in advance of the March elections as an indication that he fears a Russian Maidan wants to be in a position to suppress that kind of challenge to his regime, according to US-based Russian historian Irina Pavlova (

            But there is another more plausible reason for Putin’s action, she says. The Kremlin leader is “obviously interested in a show of mass dissatisfaction so it will have the opportunity to brutally suppress it.” Indeed, the Kremlin clearly likes the Tiananmen example because after the harsh reaction of the Chinese authorities, there haven’t been any similar actions.”

            She says that members of the Russian opposition who think Putin is more worried about a Maidan than the opportunity to stage a Tiananmen-style massacre and their supporters abroad are deceiving no one but themselves and that they are “’anti-Kremlin dreamers’” who have confused what they want to be the case for what is (

            Pavlova makes four points. First, she argues, “’the dreamers’ incorrectly evaluate the situation in the country.” On the one hand, “the regime is not in stagnation or at its end … it is on the rise.” And on the other, Putin alone is not the problem as many of his opponents think. They face an entire system and a population that is not on their side.

            Second, those who say that “conditions for a peaceful anti-criminal revolution in Russia are now more favorable than ever before,” as Aleksey Navalny says, are offering “an open lie. In Russia, such a revolution both now and in general can be only a bloody one,” however much the regime’s opponents imagine otherwise.

            Third, “the dreamers” are also wrong to constantly talk about how illegitimate the upcoming election is are engaging in “scholasticism” or “open verbal manipulations. In Russia, there is no legal state; there is a state of ‘the dictatorship of law.’ Translating from Putin-Stalinist language, this means that in Russia there is a dictatorship by the will of the ruling group.”

            And fourth, Pavlova says, “’the dreams’ exist in a social vacuum.” They don’t admit the regime has as much support as it does, and they refuse to take note of the fact that “over these decades has arisen a generation of other ‘dreamers, a Stalinized’ one, much more numerous and less refined which is pushing the Kremlin toward changes of an entirely different kind.”

            “The opponents of the Russian regime who regularly predict its rapid demise now must recognize that in the form of the present-day power they are dealing with an intelligence, strong and pitiless opponent … Articles about the rapid collapse of the regime is as it were a kind of narcotic for those citizens dissatisfied with the regime.”

            For a start, Pavlova concludes, they should stop injecting themselves with this drug.

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