Sunday, March 25, 2018

In Russia Today, Risings and Coups are Possible But Not a Revolution, Analysts Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 25 – Just as they have so often before, liberal Moscow commentators have suggested the protests in Volokolamsk over trash dumps are going to be the beginning of a revolution, Arkady Babchenko says. They did the same with the drivers’ strike over Plato, the farmers’ protests in the Kuban, and the environmentalists in the North Caucasus.

            But in no case have the protests and risings lead to a revolution because in Putin’s Russia there can be risings but not revolutions. Those who argue otherwise simply do not understand their own people. Russians are angry about many things but that doesn’t make them revolutionaries, the Russian commentator says (

                The Volokolamsk demonstrators rejected the idea of calling in Navalny or any other political leader: they don’t want to make their protest political lest they be crushed and Putin’s rating among them is 67 percent, a figure close to the Kremlin leader’s real rating throughout the country, Babchenko continues.

            “The country has changed. The Reich has crystallized. Ein Folk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer. Trash is trash but Putin is Putin. The flies are separate and so is Crimea.”  They will focus on petty local problems but as for everything else, “they are for Putin and Crimea is ours and against the radicals.”

            According to Babchenko, “there isn’t going to be any revolution here: not a revolution of the farmers, not a revolution of the miners, not a revolution of the trash collectors. Here there will be only risings.” Things will have to get a lot worse for that to change. As long as oil is 70 US dollars a barrel, Putin can sleep without fears” of any revolution.

            But if revolutions are out at least for the time being, some analysts are suggesting that a palace coup is not only possible but imminent.  US-based Russian commentator Andrey Piontkovsky for one says that regimes like Putin’s end “only via a palace coup. Power isn’t changed” there via elections (

                Such coups, however, don’t happen often except ‘as a result of serious geopolitical defeats,” Piontkovsky continues. In Putin’s case, the size of his “depends on the decisiveness of the West,” not in its use of military means something no one is interested in but rather in the display of economic power, something the West has an enormous advantage.

            But while coups in such regimes as possible, they are less likely when those who might want to remove Putin to save themselves recognize that they might very well be swept away if they were to try to “’overthrow’” him.  Unless they become convinced that won’t happen, they will stay at least outwardly loyal, and even a coup in this case will be relatively unlikely.

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