Monday, May 3, 2021

Putin’s New Repression Uniting Groups Never Allied Before

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 1 – A powerful sign that Vladimir Putin’s new wave of repression is not working is that it is uniting groups that were never allies before, joining together in the first instance liberal protesters and the newly poor who long have been the Kremlin leader’s most reliable supporters and leading groups at odds to consider cooperation in resistance.

            If the regime is to survive, Abbas Gallyamov, a former Putin speechwriter says, it must change course or it will unite so many people against it that it will have created a situation like the one in Belarus where almost the entire population stands against the ruler if not yet the regime as a whole (

            The best way for the Kremlin to avoid that disaster, the commentator continues, is to begin an operation to put a successor in place, remembering that if the individual chosen is not irretrievably unpopular, he or she will be able to gain support even from those who now oppose the regime as a whole.

            That will prevent the formation of a countrywide opposition that Russia’s force structures won’t be able to cope with because each of their incompetent applications of force will not lead to the universal intimidation they seek but rather further anger people and lead them to seek alliances with others who feel the same way about the regime.

            Prague-based regionalist writer Kharun Sidorov says that the linking up of liberals and the new poor, a unification of political and economic anger, is not the only thing that is going on. He points out that what has happened to Navalny and his staffs is not unprecedented. Moscow has done the same to others (

And he suggests that while sometimes Moscow’s repression of this or that group has led to its fragmentation and disappearance, on other occasions, it has led to a new set of alliances. And he suggests that now the Free Russia Forum despite all its limitations may serve as “a united front of the banned.”

Achieving that won’t be easy or quick, but the stakes are now so high, Sidorov argues, that groups which often have looked askance at each other because of their differing views are likely to begin to consider that they had best cooperate under the principle that if they don’t hang together, they will hand separately. 

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