Saturday, February 3, 2024

By Reviving Black Hundreds, Putin Throwing Away Respectability on Which His Authority with Most Russians Rests, Gallyamov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Jan. 29 – Sources in the Kremlin say that the authorities have decided to create “voluntary squads” consisting of veterans of the war in Ukraine and the force structures as well as of other “’patriotic’” groups. But if Putin goes ahead with this, he will just like Nicholas II be throwing away the respectability his power depends on, Abbas Gallyamov says.

            The former Putin speechwriter who now works as a columnist says that the powers that be have decided on this course because they want to suppress or intimidate into silence liberals in the capital and the unexpected rise of ethno-nationalist activism on the periphery. The groups will be financed off-budget, he continues (

            Putin thus appears to be taking another step along the path the last tsar trod, getting the country into an imperialist war and forming gangs of bullies to do his dirty work against those who oppose him. But the current Kremlin leader should remember just how counterproductive that latter effort proved, Gallyamov continues.

            “One of the major factors behind the success of the authorities in opposing a revolution is respectability,” he says. “That ensures the loyalty of the majority of the population. But when to counter the opposition, the government begins to behave like a fringe group, then in the end it loses the sympathy of the average person … and all advantages over the revolutionaries.”

            That is because the appearance of such groups tells the population that the worst has already happened and thus they do not need to fear a revolution. Thus, prompting the government to act in this way represents a signal achievement on the part of those who want to overthrow it.

            As Lenin once observed, Gallyamov says, “a revolution moves forward by creating a united and strong counter-revolution, that is, by forcing the enemy to resort to ever more extreme means of defense” that will alienate the population in the short term and prove useless when the revolution in fact happens.

            Black Hundreds-type organizations work where the population has retained tribal identities; but they don’t when what matters are ideological positions and money. Russia is in the latter category, the commentator continues, as Putin, his regime, and his country are on the brink of finding out.

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