Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Putin Today Relies on Those Worried about How to Survive but Won’t have Their Backing During a Crisis, Loshak Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 23 – There is a simple explanation for why it appears Putin has so much support, Andrey Loshak says. “When people are thinking only about survival, one can do with them whatever one wants.” But the deference they show him now is not support and would evaporate in the case of a political crisis: They won’t come into the streets to defend him.

            The opposition filmmaker says that by keeping more than 20 million Russians in real poverty and using the country’s force structures indiscriminately to instill fear, Putin has achieved apparent support; but in fact, people are simply acting rationally by not opposing him (

            Impoverished Russians don’t protest because they fear that doing so will attract the attention of the powers that be and they will end up even worse off. And those slightly better off are currently dominated by people who accept a Social Darwinist explanation for why those poorer than themselves are.

            As a result, there is not the kind of empathy and social cohesion necessary to cause people to unite and take part in protests. But the absence of protests does not mean such people support Putin; and in the event of turbulence at the top of the Russian political system, they would not support him and might even come together to oppose what he represents.

            Such attitudes and approaches are the product of Russian history and especially the Soviet period, Loshak says. “No nation has ever conducted such an experiment on itself and such auto-genocide could not pass without a trade.” Unfortunately, perestroika “did not bring freedom: it just fell on our heads.”

            “There was no leader who understood the importance of the fork in the Road Russians found themselves at and who was prepared to take full responsibility for moving in the right direction,” he continues. Instead, “the jungle began: predators age herbivores, and those who had been ordinary law-ability citizens became predators.”

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