Friday, November 24, 2023

Kremlin’s Attack on LGBT Movement Threatens Balance on which Social Stability in Putin’s Russia Depends, Protopopov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 22 – According to Cherta’s Aleksandr Protopopov, the Putin regime’s decision to try to outlaw what it calls the international LGBT movement could “destroy the rickety balance of social stability” in Russia by undermining the principle on which the government’s repressive actions have worked up to now.

            According to the commentator, the Putin regime has worked according to the following logic. It has told the population that “you can do and think what you like, so long as you do not act against the powers or create any problems for them (

            The powers may increase the punishment for those who do act against it, but they have been reluctant to increase the number of those punished, lest they suggest the opponents of the regime are anything but small in number or offend larger groups than they have to. For the regime, targeted repression works; unlimited repression is dangerous.

            Thus, during the first year of the war in Ukraine, Moscow dramatically increased the number of those charged with disseminating fakes about the Russian army; but during the second, it has not increased the number, although it has increased the severity of punishments of those charged with that (

            Protopopov argues that “the powers do not want and even are afraid of mass repressions because they see those as threatening themselves because too great would be the risk of the violation of social stability and loss of control over the repressive regime.” What is happening now with the LGBT could do one or both of these things.

            “For the regime,” he continues, “extremism is any threat to the fullness of control over key spheres. And because the authorities fear ethnic and religious problems, there are in its list of extremists, dozens of ethnic and religious organizations.” But including the International LGBT Organization violates the rules the regime has operated under.

            It threatens to provoke a response among those who do not threaten it because like calls to restrict the arrival of immigrants from countries where Russian isn’t a state language, this ban would hurt broad groups of society who in no way actually threaten the regime and its prerogatives.

            Obviously, many in the political hierarchy want to show their loyalty by suggesting ever more repressive moves. But those on top have an interest in reining them in lest such moves undercut what has been the defining calculus of the Putin government, unless of course the regime really is ready to move to mass repression as a means of rule.

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