Staunton, Nov. 9 – Many Russians believe that there were no mass protests in Soviet times because the state was ready and willing to impose massive force to prevent them, but in fact, Moscow lawyer Dmitry Krasnov says, there were mass protests throughout the Soviet period, something repression alone was never able to completely do away with.
In the aftermath of the outrages in Dagehstan, he points to four factors that he says were behind the appearance of mass protests in Soviet times that are again present at least in Daghestan. Unless these factors are addressed, there will be more such demonstrations (mk.ru/social/2023/11/09/gorkie-uroki-makhachkaly-nazvany-chetyre-predposylki-massovykh-besporyadkov-v-dagestane.html).
First of all, Krasnov says, both in Soviet times and in Daghestan, there must be enough people who are not working all the time and thus have the opportunity to engage in such actions. Second, such protests have occurred when there is a complete breakdown in contacts between the elites and the masses.
Third, ideological considerations alone are never enough to spark mass actions. There must be some conflict over wealth. And fourth, protests never just happen without someone suggesting them in advance. This may involve simple conversations or more complex ideological work. But it can be monitored and thus countered.
What makes Krasnov’s article intriguing is not simply his enumeration of all the mass protests which occurred in Soviet times, but his insistence, very much at odds with what the Kremlin today seems to think, that repression alone isn’t going to prevent new mass actions and that focusing on that alone almost certainly guarantees there will be more.