Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Irrationality Overriding Rationality in Kremlin’s Approach to Opposition, Krasheninnikov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 20 – The Kremlin has some completely rational reasons to order repeated searches of Aleksey Navalny’s staff offices: it keeps the police and judicial system occupied and well paid and ensures not only that the opposition will be kept off balance but that Russians who might be ready to ally with him will think twice, Fyodor Krasheninnikov says.

            But these rational reasons are increasingly overwhelmed by Vladimir Putin’s irrational belief that there is a hidden conspiracy of foreign and domestic enemies who are behind all the problems inside Russia and that this conspiracy can and must be tracked down and rooted out, the political analyst says (

            The fact that such a conspiracy does not exist just as witches did not exist in medieval Europe or similar conspiracies in Stalin’s time unfortunately means that the pursuit of it will continue to expand precisely as those earlier pursuits of the non-existent did until some external development forces the system to change.

            Navalny’s operations are supported by the contributions of ordinary Russians, Krasheninnikov says; but because Putin and his entourage in their villas and on their yachts can’t imagine freely making contributions to anything, he and they can’t accept the idea that this is true of the Russian opposition.

             The Kremlin believes that if it keeps looking, it will find something incriminating – “weapons, underground printing presses, leaflets calling for murder, plans for a revolution, protocols of sessions of terrorist groups, and archives detailing receipt of millions of dollars” from foreign sources – and so it keeps looking.

            Up to now, of course, the Kremlin agents haven’t found anything – or at least anything that they want regime propagandists too use. But the searches continue and expand not for the rational reason of extracting resources for the police but for the irrational one consisting of a belief among the Russian leadership that a conspiracy must exist.

            The Inquisition and those who brought witches to trial in earlier centuries acted because those engaged in this struggle were fighting something that did not exist; but if witches and heretics didn’t, something worse did – a conviction among those doing the fighting that the devil and magic did.

            More immediately, Stalin was irrationally convinced that “the USSR was surrounded by enemies” who were engaged in conspiracies against it and that “any dissatisfaction with the system was viewed not simply as a crime but as membership in the internal opposition directed from abroad by the hated Trotsky and all-powerful foreign intelligence services.”

            Such conspiracy thinking is useful to any “ineffective authority” because it explains all problems as being the result of the work of “world evil in the form of the US, Soros, the Rothschilds, and the devil himself,” Krasheninnikov continues.

            From this follows “only one conclusion.” Searches and arrests will continue as long as the person at the top of the power pyramid believes in a conspiracy that doesn’t exist but wants evidence that it does presented to him.  When one is going after something that doesn’t exist, there is no reason ever to stop.

            And thus, the political analyst says, it is completely possible to suppose that sooner or later some creative individual in uniform will be found who will fabricate” the evidence that Putin wants for the simplest of reasons: “if the bosses want precisely than, then why not make them happy?”

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