Monday, May 22, 2023

Russia’s Rightwing Radicals Even More Divided and Impotent than Russian Liberals, Pertsev Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 18 – Publicity about the anti-regime comments of Yevgeny Prigozhin and others has led some to suggest that Russia’s radical right may pose a serious threat to Putin’s regime and even bring an even worse regime to power in Russia than the one there now (e.g.,

            But the possibility that will happen is extremely small, commentator Andrey Pertsev says, because “there are more differences and disagreements among groups and individuals within this camp than there are within the Russian democratic opposition” and likely even less support for its position among the Russian people (

            It is beyond question that criticism from its supporters is “not good news for the Kremlin,” he continues, “but the ultrapatriots do not yet pose a critical threat to the Russian regime and their unification into a significant political force is unlikely.” They don’t have institutional or popular support, and they are divided on everything but the war.

            People like Prigozhin and Strelkov have acquired prominence as “a public face of the war” only “because the Kremlin doesn’t highlight its generals in its propaganda,” for reasons of its own. But if the Kremlin turns on either of these or others like them, they can be quickly sidelined or silenced.

            In the meantime, Pertsev continues, these supposed opposition figures are performing in ways that help the Kremlin more than hurt it: Their existence suggests that Putin could be succeeded by people who are even worse than he is, thus exacerbating “a fear that can be traded on both for export and instilled in Russian citizens.”

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