Staunton, October 22 – Polls show that there is a growing demand in Russia, especially among the young, for using force to address current social and political problems, a development that helps to explain why the younger generation has a more positive view of Stalin who used force and a more negative one of the 1960s generation who didn’t.
Moscow commentator Sergey Chernyakhovsky reviews these poll results in an essay for Moskovsky komsomolets (km.ru/v-rossii/2018/10/21/vnutrennyaya-politika-v-rossii/831757-molodezh-i-repressii-ottorzhenie-temy). His key conclusions are summarized by Oleg Kizim for the Publicist portal (publizist.ru/blogs/107559/27572/).
“There is a growing demand for the forcible resolution of problems in the country, Chernyakhovsky says. “And this is one of the explanations for the lack of acceptance by society and especially by the young of the notion that Stalin-era repressions.” Indeed, there appears to be a greater acceptance of the idea that any state which rejects the use of force is doomed.
Russians and especially the young want to see those they identify as responsible for their problems punished. And the population feels that if the powers that be are unwilling to do so, then the people should take such things into their own hands, the Moscow commentator continues.
This is particularly true among young people, he says. “If 30 years ago, the younger generation could protest against ‘their elders’ as involved in ‘the justification of repression,’ then now, the young see in their elders people ‘who rejected repression’” and as a result lost their country.
Thirty years ago, people asked “’why did you shoot the innocent?’” Now they are asking instead, “’why didn’t you shoot the guilty?’” People want justice and even revenge, Chernyakhovsky says. And they accept the argument of Vilfredo Pareto that “the inability to apply force is evidence of the degradation of the elite.”
“Imagine if young people were to be asked, ‘Do you consider it permissible in the current situation to destroy 700,000 and isolate from society another three million supporters of Banderite fascism, Baltic neo-Nazism, American aggression against Russia and its other enemies acting on Russian territory?’” Or asked whether officials behind unjust laws and economists behind price rises should suffer for what they have done?
How Russians and especially young Russians would answer is easy to predict.
“The laws of political life are simple and uniform,” Chernyakhovsky argues. “Either the elite finds in itself the courage to use repression against minorities hostile to the majority or the majroty begins to apply repression against elites.”
And the corollary of this, he says, is that “a country which rejects repression as an instrument of struggle with its enemies, opponents and competitors condemns itself to being the prey and object of similar repressions by their enemies, opponents and competitors.”
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