Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Putin Repression More like 1907 than 1937, Verzilov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 13 – The repression Vladimir Putin is imposing on Russia is more like that which Nicholas II imposed after the first Russian revolution than what Stalin did in 1927, Petr Vershilov says; and it is likely to have a similar effect to that earlier effort: provoking the rise of a new revolution rather than suppressing completely public activism.

            The publisher, whose Mediazone has just been declared a foreign agent and thus “an enemy of the people,” says that what Putin and his regime are doing are in fact “leading to the rise of a revolutionary situation in Russia” (znak.com/2021-10-13/izdatel_mediazony_petr_verzilov_o_vlasti_politicheskom_akcionizme_i_caryah).

            And he recalls the old and apocryphal story that “the Bolsheviks after the October Revolution wanted to give Nicholas II an order for creating a revolutionary situation in the country.” According to Verzilov, Putin fully deserves something of the same kind now for what he and his regime are doing.

             Identifying various media projects like Mediazone as foreign agents represents an attempt to marginalize them, but most of them have the ability to survive. It will be more difficult for them to do their work, but it won’t be impossible. And they will continue to inspire more people to question and then challenge the current regime.

            Verzilov notes that Moscow began applying this term after the US labelled Russia Today and Sputnik foreign agents in 2017, something Washington did on the basis of a 1938 law allowing the government to label Nazi propaganda in this way. But the two Russian outlets really are foreign agents while those Moscow is labelling as such are not.

            Consequently, the publisher and political activist says, the work of Russian media labelled foreign agents has “the very same task that it always did: to inspire other people, to show that struggle is possible and necessary.” That is what most of these so-called “foreign agents” will continue to do.

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