Staunton, November 23 – Vladimir Putin has mobilized support for his policies by saying that they are necessary to prevent Russia from sliding back in the 1990s when Russians suffered economically and psychologically from the collapse of the USSR and all the dislocations it provided. Indeed, that scarecrow has been a major source of his authority.
Anyone who questions what the Kremlin is doing is routinely challenged with the query “You want things to go back to the 1990s?” But an increasing number of video clips and posts on social media suggest that there has been a shift in public assessments of the past as compared to the present (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/81822).
The Krizis-Kopilka portal today a clip in which Russians are heard saying that they now face many of the same problems Putin promised to overcome from the 1990s and that as a result, their country finds itself in a situation again with “daily banditism, an economic crisis, a healthcare system which doesn’t work, dedovschchina in the military, and official arbitrariness.”
One such clip, of course, does not necessarily mean that there has been a sea change in Russian opinion, but the mere fact that Russians are now comparing the present and the past of 30 years ago in a new way means that a major foundation of Putin’s power is decaying and that ever more Russians are going to ask whether his restrictions have in fact been the cure he claims.