Sunday, December 26, 2021

Kremlin Now Won’t Tolerate Even ‘Imitation of Opposition’ among United Russia Ranks

 Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 6 – A case that hasn’t yet attracted but attention but that signals a further tightening of the screws in Putin’s Russia concerns the exclusion from the ruling United Russia Party of Duma deputy Yevgeny Marchenko for daring to dissent from the official position on the state budget.

            According to Rosbalt commentator Ivan Preobrazhensky, Marchenko is being hounded out of politics not simply for personal reasons but to send “a harsh signal not only to United Russia deputies in the duma but to all deputies of the lower house” that displaying opposition to the regime will now be increasingly costly (

            “Formally, Marchenko is being punished for having violated party discipline by voting against the adoption of the 2022 federal budget,” the writer says. But “rumors are circulating” that the real targets were other United Russia deputies and those in St. Petersburg who thought they could influence the deputy, elected in a single-mandate constituency, to support them.

            This extends to the ranks of United Russia the efforts of the Kremlin to limit dissent even among its loyalists, reducing the Russian parliament to a Soviet-style rubber stamp and thus pushing dissenters out of the systemic world and into the extra-systemic one, a development likely to backfire on the regime (

            By tolerating some limited dissent in the past, the Putin regime limited the radicalization of those opposed to its policies by suggesting that they could achieve something by working within the system. But now such people will be compelled to recognize that cooperation is impossible because it requires complete subordination.

            That may produce quiescence in the short term, but in the longer one, it is a recipe for explosive dissent. 

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