Friday, August 11, 2023

Next Russian Revolution Likely to Begin on the Periphery Rather than in the Capitals, Gallyamov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Aug. 3 – Most of the top officials in Russia’s federal subjects are representatives of Moscow and have no experience with independent action, but the population is so angry at them and at the center for its failures that the next Russian revolution may begin on the periphery of the country rather than in the capitals.

            Consequently, even if Moscow maintains control of the officials in the regions, it could easily lose control over the populations there, the former Putin speechwriter and current Putin critic says; and so it is possible that if the regime arms people in the regions, they will turn those guns against the officials (россия/20230803-россияне-начали-критиковать-власть-не-абстрактно-а-с-позиций-либеральной-идеологии-–-политолог-аббас-галлямов).

            In other comments, Gallyamov says that “this is the classical scenario of a so-called eastern revolution of the kind that happened in China and Cuba when the revolution began not in the capital but on the territory of the periphery and from there began a liberating campaign which ended in the capital.”

            He stresses that he is “absolutely convinced that in Belgorod and Bryansk oblasts, the attitudes of the population are much more inclined to protest than on average across Russia. They have the sense that first they were drawn into this story and then thrown to the wolves and told ‘arm yourselves.’”

            “Remember,” Gallyamov continues, “people over the course of long years have paid taxes, lived in poverty but assured themselves that at least we have a strong army. But now they are told: ‘here arm yourselves and defend your land.’ It is understandable that in such a situation, people are angry.”

            “And if they see that the opponents of the regime are sufficiently strong, and the Russian Volunteer Corps comes into their regions not with 50 or 100 people as was the case the last time but with five or ten thousand, as the Prigozhin forces did, those who are decisively inclined will go over to the side of the mutineers.”

            That is just one of the points Gallaymov makes in his interview to RFI’s Russian Service. Among the most noteworthy of the others are the following:

·       “Russians are beginning to criticize the powers not abstractly but from the positions of liberal ideology.”  They are beginning to talk about violations of human rights, the lack of freedom of speech, the absence of change at the top and the existence of a dictatorship.

·       Moscow isn’t talking about the fire bombings of the draft centers because it doesn’t know how to respond and thinks silence is its least bad alternative.

·       The only group in the population which remains overwhelmingly loyal to the Kremlin are pensioners, and even that group now contains many who are furious at the Putin regime for its broken promises about Ukraine and about their lives.

·       Focus groups show that opposition to the regime is growing and that the processes of its delegitimization in place before the expanded invasion have now resumed and are intensifying.

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