Friday, December 24, 2021

Kremlin Drive against ‘Offenders of Religious Feelings’ Not about Conservative Masses but about the Elite Itself, Shelin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 4 – The increasing number of cases being brought against those who supposedly have offended religious believers are not the result of “a desire of the powers that be to please the broad conservative masses,” Sergey Shelin says. Instead, they are a playing out of passions within the elite itself, with little thought to what the population thinks.

            There is little positive response among the population to the regime’s ostensible defense of their feelings, the Rosbalt commentator says. In fact, polls show that large swaths of Russians and especially younger ones are appalled by what the regime is doing and sympathize with those being charged (

            On the one hand, he suggests, the authorities appear less interested in the actions they are punishing than in the way those who commit them or support them are using the Internet to spread their views. Viewed from this perspective, the campaign against those who supposedly offend believers is part of the broader attack on the electronic media.

            But on the other hand, and this is far more important, Shelin argues, these attacks on people who act against what the regime wants and then spread their views via the Internet are “not in any case” a reflection of desire by the bosses to propitiate the popular majority which supposedly is “medieval” in its views.

            “There are no indications of this,” he continues. “Indeed, the situation is just the reverse: the repressions are unpopular. Polls, internet discussions, and the declarations of individuals and whole collectives indicate that the overwhelming majority of the citizenry to the victims of repression is either sympathetic or indifferent.”

            Among younger people in particular, there are many who approve the actions of those the state is attacking; and “even people of the most conservative views quite often speak of the reprisals as savagery and insanity. Only officials performing their duties praise what is going on.”

            In this way as in others, the powers that be are not pleasing the people at all, and that means that what is taking place here has nothing to do with the people but rather with “passions raging within the ruling circles.” For the members of this group, “aggressive and vengeful feelings overshadow everything else.”

            And as a result, what is going on is not some kind of political outreach to the masses but a game within the elite with its members competing with each other in showing how far they are prepared to go to satisfy what they have concluded are the desires of those at the very top of the pyramid.


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