Monday, October 17, 2022

Russian Officials Must Meet Popular Demands about Living Conditions or Face an Explosion, Pisanov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 12 – There is another and more serious social explosion coming than protests about the war, Vladislav Pisanov argues. It involves complaints from the population about living conditions which have deteriorated still further because of the conflict and the continuing conviction of officials that they can ignore such popular anger and enrich themselves.

            The Sovershenno Sekretno writer describes how officials in Chelyabinsk have apparently concluded that whatever the war in Ukraine means, it does not mean they must change their approach to the needs of the population. But the people are no longer prepared to sit still for such an approach (

            Given the war, Pisanov continues, “now the people must be heard. If they do not feel real returns and benefits for themselves, then how can they explain and even more accept the global significance of the current changes in the world?” And people will begin to ask why what they are now calling “’rear rats’” are still getting fatter while pensions lack kopecks for bread.

            Regional leaders may try to quiet such complaints by sacrificing a few junior officials; and Moscow ones may try as well to do so by sacrificing a few regional ones. But if the system doesn’t become more responsive to popular needs, the Russian people will rise in revolt, not against the war but against what the war has failed to do for them.

            According to Pisanov, this is a problem the regime may be able to manage for a long time but clearly not forever, especially as it is increasingly true not just in a few oblasts like Chelyabinsk but across the country. 

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