Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Russian Population’s Reaction to Skripal Case More Disturbing than a First Glance Suggests, Psychologist Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 13 – Many people have been put off by the bombastic comments of Russians on the street and in the Internet in reaction to the Skripal case, with some suggesting that it shows what Moscow can do when it wants to and even saying that the FSB can and even should do such things in the future.

            But beneath that appalling show of “infantilism” and “lunacy,” a psychologist says in a comment reproduced by Moscow commentator Aleksey Roshchin, is something worse: a display by Russians that they do not feel themselves connected with or responsible for what their rulers do (sapojnik.livejournal.com/2584330.html at blog.newsru.com/article/13mar2018/noreaction).

            One is tempted to ask where the certainty Russians display that they can do anything and nothing will happen to them as a result; but “in fact there is no certainty. [Instead,] there is a complete and obvious consciousness that ‘we here aren’t involved,’” that there is “the ALIENATION of the residents from the system of power.”

            Those in the state act, Russians feel; we live out own lives.  In fact, the psychologist says, “it is impossible to explain to Russian ‘citizens’ that they are in any way responsible for the actions of their own government.” 

            He continues: “even ‘Putinists’ who consider Putin ‘their own’ and ‘the beloved leader,’ in their worst nightmare cannot imagine that Putin somehow is dependent on them or is under their control. No, the happiness of the Putinnists is just the reverse.” They are delighted that “PUTIN controls them.”

            At the same time, Putin’s opponents view themselves as being “under the power of ‘an evil will, which they cannot oppose in any way.”

            “But the most ridiculous thing,” the psychologist says, “is that our fellow citizens completely sincerely consider everything that occurs in the best sense as some kind of funny joke and themselves as onlookers.” They often express interest in what is happening to others but none in how they are related to that reality.

            “The rabble never consider themselves guilty; it always views itself as the victim. It sincerely thinks that others must sympathize and understand them” without any sense that they must sympathize and understand others. Their view is that our security organs are “’YOUR problem. We simply live here.’”

            And they say to others who are victims of what their state does as being responsible for what happens: “’You didn’t control the situation? Well, you should have.’”  Such attitudes free the hands of the Russian regime and mean that the residents of the Russian Federation are quite prepared not to challenge the Kremlin but to support its most outrageous acts. 

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