Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Worried Russian Elites Consolidating but Atomized Society Not Organizing to Oppose Them, Mikhaylichenko Says

 Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 19 – Russian elites, feeling themselves under threat, appear to be increasingly consolidating around the Kremlin, while the population remains too atomized to come up with any counter consolidation that might challenge those now in power, Dmitry Mikhaylichenko says.

            These are two of the eight underlying social and political processes and factors which the Ufa political analyst sees at work in Russia today ( The other six are as follows:

            First, there is a generalized fear of the future, with ever more people living one day at a time and reducing their time horizons as far as planning is concerned. Those who feel especially bad about the situation are either leaving the country or are going into internal emigration, avoiding even the social media they had used to express their feelings.

            Second, there has already been a militarization of social consciousness, something that is promoting conformism and a willingness to live within the realities defined by the powers that be. What those powers want are thus far more determinative than what the population itself may desire.

            Third, “a cult of the mobilized” has taken off with people now focused on helping those who have been mobilized for war rather than on providing social help to the poor. “This can have long-reaching consequences” because veterans will come to expect far more from Moscow than they have received in the past.

            Fourth, there has been “a gradual loss of variety” both in thinking and in the stores. People are getting used to a smaller range of ideas and to fewer options when they go to make purchases, a restoration of what was true in Soviet times. This trend is also leading to greater intolerance for anyone who varies from the norm.

            Fifth, because Russians find their lives increasingly difficult, they also find it ever more difficult to “live freely and think independently.” This is already true of the majority of the population, “including millions of pensioners, mothers with a large number of children, and also those on whom life has cast any sort of shadow.”

            And sixth, because of all the problems, Russians are increasingly looking for scapegoats. Some of these will be supplied by the powers; but Russians will independently come up with their own. That search will make social interaction and cooperation among the population even more difficult.

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