Saturday, December 31, 2022

Russian Opposition Failed in 2022 for Nine Reasons, Ukrainian Commentator Says

 Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 31 – Many outside of Russia had hoped those who call themselves the Russian opposition would play a more prominent role in opposing Putin and his war in Ukraine, but their hopes have been dashed, not just by Kremlin repression that has forced many opposition leaders into emigration but also by nine failures of the opposition itself, Yevgeny Popov says.

            The head of the southern Ukraine office of the International Renaissance Foundation identifies and discusses each of these shortcomings, clearly in the hope that the Russian opposition will eventually be able to overcome them (

            First of all, Popov says, the opposition abroad today lacks “any ties with society” and has not tried to overcome that by creating organizational structures inside Russia.

            Second, the émigré opposition has put its efforts on the development of media platforms, holding meetings and reporting them virtually rather than on doing the hard work of developing political organizations at home.

            Third, the opposition has failed to be clear about exactly how it will gain power or what it will do once it has it, raising questions about how serious a political force it is and what direction it might in fact take the country if it had the chance.

            Fourth, the behavior of the opposition raises questions as well as to whether it is more interested in taking steps that ensure continued funding from the West rather than actually gaining political influence at home.

            Fifth, the Russian opposition is divided among a variety of groups which show very little willingness to cooperate with one another.

            Sixth, the opposition has failed to specify who will do what in a post-Putin government, leading ever more people to question what it really would do if it gained power.

            Seventh, according to Popov, the opposition spends more time worrying about feathering its own nest than in addressing Russian problems.

            Eighth, all too often the leaders of the opposition fail to see that their positions help the powers they supposedly oppose more than they will lead to change.

            And ninth, in more and more instances, the opposition continues to talk as it did before Ukraine, before Georgia, or before Chechnya, failing to recognize that it is only highlighting just how cut off it is from Russian society.

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