Sunday, March 17, 2024

Kremlin Increasingly Worried Criminal Groups Threaten Its Power, Anti Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Mar. 14 – Roman Anti, a pseudonymous Moscow blogger, says that “something very new is taking shape” in Russia, “repulsive for many,” but nonetheless “real” hostility to Putin among criminals and other marginalized groups, a development that the Kremlin is increasingly worried threatens its power.

            This anger is not so much ideological as a reflection of the view among such groups at the bottom of Russian society that Putin is “scum” and should be sent packing, Anti continues; but because the Kremlin has gelded almost everyone else, such people are frightening and the regime is moving against them (

            That is why the Kremlin has banned the AUE and has been conducting operations against shadow communities within the prison system, Anti continues. It sees them as a threat both because they are “alternative verticals” and because they are prepared to use violence in the pursuit of their aims.

            Other social strata, he continues, are already “tightly controlled by the powers that be administratively, economically and ideologically.” Such people “aren’t ready for an uprising, to put it mildly.” As a result, the regime fears, “the first push will come from counter-state groups” like criminals. Hence the regime’s “pro-active” strikes.

            “Even in the Third Reich,” Anti points out, “the Gestapo had problems with criminal groups,” some of whom grew into “an anti-Nazi underground such as Hans Steinbruck’s Ehrenfeld Group.” And when repression of Solidarity began in Poland in the early 1980s, some of its activists began to speak with criminal elements there.

            According to Anti, “over the last decade, politically motivated arson, attacks on loyalists, clashes with the police and the National Guard have arisen more than a few times out of this environment. And now, “’Zek versus Z’ is the image of Russian politics,” yet another confirmation that “the social weakening of the regime has begun from the very bottom.”


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