Staunton, Nov. 19 – Protest attitudes among Russians have increased in the course of the pandemic, according to a new report by the Agency for Political and Economic Communications; but measures taken by the state and disorder among the opposition have meant that these attitudes have not led to more protest actions.
The report, Protest 2021: Structure, Main Trends, and Prognosis (in Russian), is available at apecom.ru/projects/item.php?SECTION_ID=91&ELEMENT_ID=7579 and has now been discussed in some detail at realtribune.ru/borba-s-pandemiej-povyshaet-protestnye-nastroeniya).
“From the beginning of the pandemic,” the APEC report says, “there has been noted a high level of distrust about all questions connected with the development of the situation.” Indeed, it continues, Russian society is now divided sharply between “vaxxers” and “anti-vaxxers,” a social conflict the powers have sought to distance themselves from.
This division has been accompanied by an increase in aggressiveness and hatred with demands on one side to “segregate” part of society generating a response that such notions are “fascism,” the report continues. Given this, it will be “impossible” for the state to remain neutral lest this division spread to other issues and spark massive protests.
The systemic opposition parties benefited from this in the September elections, but neither they nor the non-systematic parties or other organizations have been able to transform these attitudes into massive protests, largely because of the increasing repressiveness of the Putin regime.