Staunton, Feb. 12 – Snitching on others is making a comeback under Vladimir Putin, but not so that he can identify real enemies – he can invent as many of those as he wants – and so observers are speculating about why. Some say it is a recrudescence of Russian culture, while others argue that it reflects declines in in the level of interpersonal trust.
Those two views are analyzed in two recent Windows on Eurasia (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2023/02/snitching-coming-back-so-strongly.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2023/01/ukraine-war-has-reduced-levels-of.html). But new Andrey Kolesnikov of The New Times offers a third (newtimes.ru/articles/detail/236034).
He suggests that the real reason that the Putin regime has encouraged the rise of snitching is to give Russians who feel marginalized and ignored the chance to feel that the regime listens to them and consequently gives them another reason, however weak, to support the Kremlin and its policies.
Obviously, all three of these factors and possibly others as well are at work, but Kolesnikov’s point is important because it indicates that Putin or at least someone in his Presidential Administration thinks it is important to shore up the support of those who are generally assumed to have nowhere to go but into his camp.
And that in turn suggests that those at the top of the Putin pyramid are perhaps more concerned about the real level of popular support as contrasted with what people are prepared to tell pollsters or pollsters are prepared to tell the powers that be.