Staunton, January 23 – Abbas Gallyamov, a former Putin speechwriter and now critical commentator, says that no regime including the Russian one that wants to remain in power for long will anger students who have both the time to protest and the tendency toward radical maximalism that their elders often lack.
But in a display of its lack of memory of Russian traditions in this regard, the Kremlin now is repeating exactly the mistake that the tsarist government made at the end, infuriating students, attracting other young people to their cause and setting the country on a revolutionary course that will eventually end badly for those in power (echo.msk.ru/blog/gallyamov_a/2778554-echo/).
“The mechanism which led to the 1905 revolution (which in its turn led to the 1917 revolution) was put in play in February 1899 when the rector of St. Petersburg University told students that they were prohibited from marking the day of the founding of their school beyond campus.” The students didn’t listen and behaved as they always had, Gallyamov recounts.
They sang the Marseillaise, and then the mounted police dispersed them. That attracted students from provincial colleges who “declared a boycott and ceased to attend classes. The powers expelled 200 of them and sent them into the army. Throughout the entire country, strikes began …”
Once they were put in play, the students continued to protest, sometimes openly and sometimes not. But “if I worked in the Kremlin,” the commentator says, “I would do everything not to anger the students. This is the most dangerous enemy of the powers.” And the latter will eventually see their mistake.
And yet the current incumbents of the Kremlin seem to have learned nothing from that past and have acted against their own best interests. Caricaturist Yolkin drew a picture of a TV announcer warning students not to go to protests at precisely a particular place and a particular time. Needless to say, that and much else has led the students to laugh at the regime.
In a Facebook comment, Moscow blogger Ilya Yashin says that today, Russia’s student young not only laughed, but took down pictures of Putin – that’s become “the fashion” – and massively took part in the Navalny demonstrations across the Russian Federation (facebook.com/yashin.ilya/posts/3702529196467365 reposted at ehorussia.com/new/node/22609).
“Young people much more sharply feel lies and injustice” than do their elders, Yashin says. They still haven’t learned to cop with compromises and suppression. And they are now becoming a dominant force in protests for Navalny and against Putin – at least in part because of the clumsiness of the latter.
“I well remember the times when the key figures at opposition meetings were pensioners who had begun their careers already in DemRossiya at the end of the 1980s. You went to the tribunes and there wasn’t anyone younger than 50.” Young people then were focused on their private lives, getting ahead or finding a place in the system.
But now have come “another time.” Young people have been mobilized because while “the powers are looking backward, they want to move ahead.” According to Yashin, “we have won the competition with Putin for the young. He remains in the past, but the future belongs to us.”