Staunton, Mar. 14 – The reason that members of the Russian opposition spend so much time fighting among themselves is not any personal qualities of these people but rather the systemic fact that the powers that be in Russia today have made it impossible for them to challenge the system itself, Demyan Kudryavtsev says.
The Paris-based Russian poet and media figure who was one of the first to flee Putin’s Russia says that such internecine struggles almost inevitably lead to a radicalization of opinion among the opposition and its further isolation from the population (rfi.fr/ru/россия/20230314-демьян-кудрявцев-осистемной-проблеме-российской-оппозиции-интервью).
But Kudryavtsev makes three additional arguments that shed light on the nature of life within the ranks of the Russian opposition today. First, he says one must draw a shape line between opposition figures and human rights activists. The former are interested in power and thus compete with one another; the latter are focused on highlighting abuses and thus cooperate.
Second, the divisions now in evidence among the Russian opposition will become much less severe when real politics becomes possible. Competition and struggle among various parties is the norm in more democratic political systems, but there are also occasions when such parties cooperate. Something similar will be true in Russia as well.
And third, while the current Russian opposition “has no way to overthrow this government,” there are other forces working for that, including the contradictions the regime itself is producing and the moves of leaders of the international community. Thus what may seem “a hopeless cause” now won’t be in the future.
Once that happens, the opposition will change and real politics in the broader understanding of the term will arise.