Staunton, Aug. 18 – The declaration in Warsaw last week by Vladislav Zhivitsy, a KPRF member of the Smolensk Duma, that he seeks to promote the independence of Smolensk from Moscow (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2023/08/smolensk-oblast-deputy-announces-in.html) won’t affect the gubernatorial vote there but will have an impact on KPRF personnel policies.
That is the judgment of a group of Russian experts surveyed by the Club of the Regions portal (club-rf.ru/67/detail/6995). Aleksandr Kynyev, a political scientist, says few in the region will pay any attention to what Zhivitsy said, a position shared by Nelli Burlatova, who heads the Outside the Limits movement in Smolensk.
She argues that the views Zhivitsy expressed are deeply unpopular because “the core electorate of ‘the reds’ is ready to listen to calls for changing those in power there … but Smolensk residents aren’t stupid and they will hardly support openly extremist declarations.” That isn’t in their interest.
A third analyst, political scientist Dmitry Nechayev, says that the KPRF as a whole will never support such things and its voters know that. But that doesn’t mean that the Warsaw declaration won’t matter. Clearly, there are problems with the selection of candidates by the KPRF; and those will now have to be addressed.
But officials in Smolensk are taking a hard line against Zhivitsy and have begun a criminal case against him that would result in possible fines and imprisonment and at the very least removal from the Smolensk parliament. Such efforts will keep his ideas alive, spreading them as a result of the efforts of the powers that be to squelch them.