Staunton, July 30 – Until the suppression of the protest in Moscow last weekend, Liliya Shevtsova says, many opposed to the policies of the Putin regime believed that “’we can do more good if we are inside’” the charmed circle of the power vertical than if we remain outside. Now such faith is becoming impossible for all but the most slavish servants of the Kremlin.
Until last weekend, the Kremlin’s efforts at creating a system which imitated legality were successful in convincing many that they could work with the regime, pushing it toward something better by means of small steps, steps that required they remain inside the regime rather than its unqualified opponents (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5D3EEB694625E).
But the use of force in the name of destroying the law and the electoral system means that such a position is insupportable. Many who had accepted that idea earlier are clearly in shock and struggling to find some way to justify themselves and thus continue to feed at the regime’s trough at the expense of the population.
“It is of course possible to affirm that in the violence of July 27 ‘both sides’ are guilty, that one must follow ‘the law,’ and that in the beatings of peaceful citizens are guilty the Navalny supporters who provoked the siloviki. But it is clear that these arguments mean that those who make them have passed over into the category of the open apologists.”
Some nominal opponents of the regime may be willing to do so, Shevtsova says; but most will not because now “’to be inside’ is a black mark” on their reputations. All those who continue to take part in the simulacra of a legal state will show themselves to have become apologists of the regime rather than defenders of the people and the Constitution.
The mascaraed “has ended,” the Russian commentator says. There is no room left either for “more post-modernism” or for “a change of masks.” And the regime isn’t going to allow for that either: it could recover its standing only by retreating, and it can’t retreat from its use of force or it will lose power. It remembers all too well what happened to Gorbachev.
It will take some courage for those who have been willing to be part of the charade to walk away. Those who do will be welcomed by the Russian people; those who don’t will be remembered precisely for their failure to do so in the new reality of post-July 27 Russia.