Staunton, Dec. 30 – No one should be under the illusion that the Russian people don’t welcome or at least are indifferent to the Kremlin’s campaign against Memorial, Artemy Troitsky says. Too many of them now view Stalin in a positive light and don’t welcome the exposure of his crimes.
But at the same time, the journalist and music critic says, Vladimir Putin’s effort to shut down this group of activists may backfire on him just as the Soviet campaigns against dissidents backfired against the KGB leaders who are role models for the current leader in the Kremlin (echo.msk.ru/blog/troitskiy/2960594-echo/).
Like them, Putin clearly hopes that he can create a Russian without dissidents and make the country something like North Korea. That is possible but unlikely because another outcome is more likely – that is, those opposed to the regime will shift from law-abiding dissent to more active forms of resistance, Troitsky says.
The journalist suggests how such “a boomerang” effect might occur by drawing on his own experience with the dissident movement in the 1970s. He says he attended several meetings of dissidents then. The people were intelligent and smart but they were ultimately boring to someone who wanted more dramatic action.
The dissidents then talked about getting the Soviet government to live according to its own constitution just as Memorial more recently has talked about having the Russian government do the same thing. That is important, of course, but it won’t end the desires of many younger people for radical steps.
It is thus entirely possible that by suppressing Memorial, the Kremlin is playing a role in creating its own nemesis in the form of younger people who won’t be satisfied with its approach. If so, the journalist says, the Kremlin, however pleased it is with popular support now for its closure of Memorial, may regret what it has done at some point in the future.