Staunton, July 7 – Just as in Soviet times, the Kremlin now has “no motivation to change itself and develop the country,” Kirill Martynov says; and consequently, any demand for change can now come only from the citizens themselves. That arrangement, he says, isn’t going to lead to a thaw but to something more radical.
Every time the powers that be appear to be acting in less than a cannibalistic way, the political editor of Novaya gazeta says, Russians, “half seriously and half in gest,” begin to speculate about the possibility of a new “thaw,” a relaxation of the political system like the one that followed the death of Stalin (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2019/07/07/81156-rossiya-bez-ottepeli).
But that is to misread history, Martynov continues. “After the death of the bloody tyrant who ruled for decades, the country was so exhausted that the authorities had to give people the possibility to breathe a little. But the thaw never risked become a real spring, and after a short period of warming, the political atmosphere was cooled down by new frosts.”
“The climate remained arctic because the Soviet powers that be up to the middle of the 1980s did not have serious reasons to change it,” the editor says. And today is much the same: those in power don’t see any reason to make more than cosmetic changes and will not do anything to change the situation in any fundamental way.
More than that, Martynov says, they will not allow anyone to cast doubt on “axion that the country is moving on the only correct course under the leadership of irreplaceable professionals.” And the gap between those in power and ordinary Russians is only growing, as the statements and articles of the leaders make clear.
If change is going to come to Russia, he argues, it will only come at the demand of the population; and changed produced that way won’t be “a thaw” but something far more fundamental.