Sunday, January 29, 2023

Putin’s Power Rests on Russians’ Fear of Separatism and Belief in His Ability to Prevent It, Yusupova Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Jan. 26 – Within the Russian population, Vladimir Putin’s power rests on two things: fear of separatism and the disintegration of the country, on the one hand, and a belief that he is capable of preventing it, on the other, according to Guzel Yusupova, a sociologist at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics.

            The experience of the two Chechen wars and Putin’s victory in the second continue to play an outsized influence in Russian thinking and in the feeling of the overwhelming majority that only harsh and authoritarian measures can prevent the disintegration of the country, she continues (

            That helps explain two other developments as well, Yusupova says: the focus Russians have on migration which in their minds threatens to “Islamicize” Russia and the moves of the government by means of manipulation of the census to suggest that Russia is not becoming more Muslim and that any threat from the Muslim republics is under control.

            The results of the 2021 Russian census on nationality must be read with these two factors in mind, she concludes. 

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