Staunton, December 25 – Many commentators are suggesting that the attempted poisoning of opposition leader Aleksey Navalny and even more his survival have undermined the standing of the Kremlin in the eyes of the Russian people. But that is incorrect, analyst Sergey Medvedev says.
A new Levada Center poll finds that 55 percent of Russians accept the Kremlin’s insistence that Navalny’s poisoning was “staged” as “provocation” by Western intelligence agencies and thus are ready to believe that FSB murders are in fact the work of the West (newsru.com/blog/25dec2020/narod.html).
No deterioration in the domestic situation is likely to change that view, Medvedev continues; and thus, Russia has returned to a picture of the world like the one Stalin promoted in the 1930s. In that case, any “’epiphany’ is impossible in principle,” not because Russians are bad people but rather because they have been raised to think that way.
The Russians are the people Stalin praised in June 1945, a people who accepted the cruelty and injustice of their rulers as part of the natural order of the contest with the West and thus who have always been ready to view such actions as a measure of the legitimacy of the powers that be rather than the occasion for challenging them.
A sizeable fraction of Russians do not think this way, of course; but no one should expect the overwhelming majority of them to react otherwise and thus to extrapolate from Navalny’s poisoning and survival to approaching regime change in the Russian Federation of Vladimir Putin.