Sunday, March 17, 2024

Ever More Russians Again Becoming Internal Emigres, Turning Away Even from Social Media, Mikhaylichenko Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Mar 14. – As repression increases and the opportunities for emigration and “living there but working here” decline, Dmitry Mikhaylichenko says, ever more Russians are adopting the time-tested approach of internal emigration in which they focus on their families and avoid all forms of social activity, including even participation in social media.

            The political scientist who heads Ufa’s Institute of Regional Expertise argues this turning inward, something Russians have often practiced in the past, leads to underestimation of the degree of popular unhappiness with the regime ( reposted at

            “Our grandparents and great-grandparents,” Mikhaylichenko says, “would not have written posts on social networks even if they had existed;” and soon a similar pattern may obtain in Putin’s Russia. Again, Russians who disagree with the regime will talk among their family circles and keep diaries but not take any public action even online.

            To the extent the Ufa scholar is correct, it will become ever more difficult either for the Kremlin or for its opponents within Russia or abroad to know just what the Russian people are thinking, a development that will make it ever more likely that the Kremlin will take decisions that most Russians don’t approve of and have to use ever more repression to maintain itself.

            But this trend will also mean that opponents of the regime will be ever less sure of how widespread their feelings are and will lead Russians at home and analysts and officials abroad equally unsure of just how many supporters and how many opponents the leaders of Russia have in their own country. 


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