Sunday, October 22, 2023

Russian Federation Citizens ‘Won’t Go into the Streets to Defend Putin or to Overthrow Him,’ Magaletsky Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 19 – The fundamental reality of Russian political life is that most Russian citizens “won’t go into the streets to defend Putin,” but at the same time, “they won’t do so to overthrow him either,” Oleg Magaletsky says, a situation that may delay change but that means when change does come, it may take place more quickly than many expect.

            Most people in Russia will accept whatever their government does, but this support is passive, the organizer of the Forums of the Free States of Post-Russia argues. They are neither active in their support nor active in their opposition. As a result, the current regime is fragile but so too is the opposition (

            That is especially the case of the Russian liberal opposition, which, to paraphrase what Voltaire said about the Holy Roman Empire, is neither Russian, nor liberal, nor in a fundamental sense an opposition. It is Muscovite rather than Russian, it is liberal only for itself but not for others, and it is not prepared to challenge the incumbent regime in a serious way.

            Many Western governments are also “inert” as far as Russia is concerned. They are prepared to work with the existing regime because they generally assume that any change will be risky, even though the demise of the Russian Federation would be a “win-win,” something that would benefit themselves, the non-Russians and even Russians who say they are against it.

            As a result, change may be a long time in coming; but when it does come, Magaletsky argues, it may be remarkably quick because it will be the result of the struggle of minorities with other minorities and the majority will then go along with the new regime passively supporting it in much the same way that they are supporting the incumbents.

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