Staunton, January 12 – Moscow political analyst Aleksandr Morozov suggests that a key element in the failure of Russians to turn on Vladimir Putin at a time when the economic and social condition of their country is deteriorating is a hangover from their investment in him in the first decade of his rule.
US-based Russian historian Irina Pavlova points to Morozov’s recent argument: “Why is Russian society so passive?” he asks rhetorically. “The cause is to rooted int eh first decade of Vladimir Putin’s rule. Then, all social groups, strata, informal and formal clubs – all those that existed – made an investment in this early Putinism” (t.me/kremlebezBashennik/18911 cited at ivpavlova.blogspot.com/2021/01/blog-post_12.html).
“Not only Vekselberg and Deripaska, Gref and Kudrin but also Zyuganov’s communist party and the Union of Right Forces, Mikhalkov with his gypsies, Rogozin with his communities, and officers with the Chechens. And this investment gave all of them a return.” And because it did, they are reluctant to turn away from him even now.
Many are inclined to blame the continuing deference of Russians to Putin on longstanding national traditions, but the first decade of Putin’s time in office allowed him to build up enormous political capital. That he is losing it now is beyond question, but the fact that so many won’t turn on him reflects that time more than many think.
Only if Russians recognize this pattern, Pavlova suggests in highlighting Morozov’s argument, is there a chance that they and others will recognize what is actually going on and be in a position to challenge it first and foremost within themselves and then against their ruler in the Kremlin.