Saturday, February 24, 2024

Fear of Destabilization has Heightened Russian Hostility to Any Opposition and Support for Harsh Punishments, Makarkin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Feb. 20 – Moscow analyst Aleksey Markarkin says there are two “political fears” in contemporary Russia: the fear of punishment dating back to Soviet times and the fear of destabilization and the collapse of the state. The former ebbed at the end of that period, but the latter has only grown because the Soviet Union apparently collapsed so easily.

            There was relatively little fear of destabilization and collapse until the USSR crashed and disintegrated, he continues, because most of its residents did not believe that a great power could fall apart easily only to see their beliefs destroyed by reality ( reposted at

            After the collapse, support for protecting the state increased and hostility toward any opposition other than the most loyal intensified. “At the same time,” Makarkin continues, “the fear of destabilization is playing another important role: it is ‘ennobling’ the fear of punishment,” by providing a “patriotic” justification for non-participation in politics.

            Younger Russians have “significantly less fear of destabilization and collapse” because they were “either very young in 1991 or had not yet in fact been born.” But it remains very strong among their elders and they are the people in power, Makarkin concludes, and in a position to set the weather ideologically.

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