Saturday, April 15, 2023

Kremlin’s Biggest Fear is that Russians Will Begin Asking Questions about Future, Yudin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Apr. 10 – The Kremlin’s greatest fear is that Russians will begin asking questions about Russia’s future, Grigory Yudin says. Hence the regime is seeking to organize the 2024 presidential election as a referendum in which Russians are told that there is no alternative to Putin and that the current president will continue to guide the country by his lights.

            The Moscow sociologist’s words represent his take on the meeting the Kremlin held recently with deputy regional heads in which it outlined how they were to organize things and what is expected of them (; on that meeting itself, see

            The regional officials were told to treat any opposition to Putin as marginal and irrelevant and to ensure that none of them begins to look at the election in a new way lest that lead Russians to follow the course of Belarusians in 2020 when members of that nation realized that an election can and even should be about the future.

            In the course of his discussion, Yudin makes two other extremely important points. First, he argues that there is no reason to think that what some are calling “angry patriots” will represent a serious challenge to Putin. They may be upset with him for not going further in Ukraine, but they are defined by him and will ultimately disappear with him.

            The model for this, the sociologist suggests, is what happened with the Russian extreme right black hundreds movement at the end of the imperial period. It too was furious that the tsar wasn’t taking a harder line, but when the tsar disappeared, the extreme right fell apart rather than coalesced into a serious force about the future.

            And second, despite what many believe, “there are no ‘real statistics’” in the Kremlin. Instead, “the sociologists who work at the order of the Kremlin publish only that which their paymasters want.” There may be cases when the Kremlin wants different information, but then it ensures that those statistics aren’t published.

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