Staunton, March 16 – The collapse of the ruble and the consequent decline in the standard of living of many Russians puts wealthier Russians “at risk” in the event of rising crime, Vladimir Piskaykin, vice chairman of the Tyumen Oblast Duma says. And he asked police whether they intend to defend the well off.
Leonid Kolomiyets, head of the local interior ministry office said that if someone is concerned about his own security, he can always turn to law enforcement personnel who will determine whether his fears are justified or not. Those who can afford to should turn to private security companies.
In reporting this exchange which highlights some real fears in Russia, Dmitry Rodionov of Svobodnaya pressa points out that Piskaykin has made money from private security companies and may have reasons to stoke such fears and get the police to urge the better off part of the population to turn to such companies (svpressa.ru/society/article/259851/).
Most of the experts and observers with whom Rodionov spoke were dismissive of Piskaykin’s remarks, seeing them as yet another example of a politician trying to attract attention, make money for his business or simply not stopping to think how his words will be understood.
But the remarks of one figure, Andrey Milyuk, a member of the executive committee of the St. Petersburg section of the unregistered The Other Russia Party are worthy of attention. On the one hand, he says that Piskaykin “simply is not a very smart man.” But on the other, he says that “every rich Russian should experience fear before the archetype of the popular pogromshchik – the rural peasant with an axe.”
At the present time, Milyuk suggests, “there are no preconditions for popular uprisings” and that will remain true even if life becomes significantly worse and jobs far scarcer. Even in those cases, he says, people “will not go out into the streets.” Instead, “the masses will r5ise when they are offended and are infuriated by injustice.”
The reasons people take part in protests of any kind “lie beyond the limits of the rational, in the area of feelings and emotions. But in this is also a danger for the Piskaikins – the explosion always happens suddenly when it would seem nothing points to that. This is almost impossible to predict.”
But there is one thing one can say for certain, Milyuk says. “the police in such a situation won’t help them. Speak with a policeman on the beat – that is where real hatred to the powers is to be found.” Indeed, “it is completely probable that some of them will change in civies and will be in the first ranks of the pogromshchiki.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised” if that happened, the St. Petersburg activist says.