Friday, November 24, 2023

Kremlin has Five Rational Reasons for Welcoming and Promoting Ever More Outlandish Proposals from Duma Members, Grashchenkov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 22 – The Kremlin has five reasons, rational but extremely dangerous, for supporting the increasing proclivity of Duma deputies to offer ever more outlandish and even outrageous proposals rather than engaging in genuine legislative work, according to Russian political scientist Ilya Grashchenkov.

            First of all, he says, the Russian establishment like those in many countries is having to respond to a wave of political populism and believes that throwing out such proposals is a good way to suggest that it is listening to the people given that almost all such proposals no matter how ridiculous have some support (

            Second, deputies are always seeking to learn what those above them want, and advancing such proposals is a clever way to do so, especially at a time when the country’s leadership has not taken positions on many things. If their notions attract support, well and good; if they don’t, these can be safely ignored after a few news cycles, Grashchenkov suggests.

            Third, such outrageous proposals are also a means of determining what the population itself wants. Running up an idea on the flagpole and then seeing who salutes is an old political tactic; and the use of the outrageous at a time when only the outrageous gets attention from the media is a useful tactic.

            Fourth, the plethora of such proposals “automatically devalues the work of the legislative body,” exactly the outcome the Kremlin wants. And fifth, such proposals diverts attention from real problems to imaginary issues, again a development that those at the top of the Russian political pyramid can only welcome.

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