Staunton, August 23 – One of the most frequently asked alternative history questions is how far would the Nazis have proceeded with the holocaust if they had been met not with obedience but with active and even violent resistance by Jews and others Hitler wanted to destroy.
Now, Dmitry Muratov, the chief editor of Novaya gazeta, is asking a similar question: Would Vladimir Putin and his regime have been so successful in taking away the rights of Russians if instead of simply obeying, they had resisted (znak.com/2021-08-23/siloviki_zahvatili_vlast_v_rf_oppoziciyu_razgromili_a_nezavisimye_smi_intervyu).
Each time, Putin has tightened the screws, Muratov says, most Russians have accepted this as natural or even inevitable and have welcomed it. That simply opens the way to more repression, and the editor predicts that after the Duma elections, the regime will shut down the Internet – and won’t face popular resistance in doing so.
“The majority of Russians do not have any need for freedom,” something the regime understands and exploits but that the opposition has not been willing to confront and try to change. Most Russians want the regime to give them things but not freedom, and the regime responds as one would expect.
According to the editor, “it is completely ossible that the secret police which is involved with the destruction of the media will say ‘Well, fine, you didn’t understand when we declared you a foreign agent? You didn’t understand that we expect from you an end to your activity? Then we will come after your people” individually and collectively.
The regime is counting on Russians to continue to accept this gradual loss of their rights. But “never ever in any country has there been a complete defeat of what you call the opposition and what in the past I call dissent. In the Soviet Union, everything was paved over but there was the Chronicle of Current Events, Ludmila Alekseyeva and Sergey Kovalyev
These people mattered and matter now. Academician Andrey Sakharov played a key role in changing Russia even though he was repressed for much of his life, Muratov says. That same possibility exists for those who resist if they are willing to play a long game rather than assume they have no choice but to bow their heads and submit.
Tragically, too few are ready to defend their rights now; and the Putin regime has concluded as Stalin did in the 1930s that the population really isn’t ready for those rights because it won’t defend them and therefore the regime can do with them what it wants rather than what is right.
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