10 – The Kremlin’s greatest fear is that Russians will begin asking questions
about Russia’s future, Grigory Yudin says. Hence the regime is seeking to
organize the 2024 presidential election as a referendum in which Russians are
told that there is no alternative to Putin and that the current president will
continue to guide the country by his lights.
sociologist’s words represent his take on the meeting the Kremlin held recently
with deputy regional heads in which it outlined how they were to organize things
and what is expected of them (verstka.media/sociolog-grigoriy-yudin-o-podgotovke-k-prezidenskim-vyboram;
on that meeting itself, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2023/04/only-53-percent-of-russians-fully.html).
The regional officials were told to
treat any opposition to Putin as marginal and irrelevant and to ensure that none
of them begins to look at the election in a new way lest that lead Russians to
follow the course of Belarusians in 2020 when members of that nation realized
that an election can and even should be about the future.
In the course of his discussion, Yudin
makes two other extremely important points. First, he argues that there is no
reason to think that what some are calling “angry patriots” will represent a
serious challenge to Putin. They may be upset with him for not going further in
Ukraine, but they are defined by him and will ultimately disappear with him.
The model for this, the sociologist
suggests, is what happened with the Russian extreme right black hundreds
movement at the end of the imperial period. It too was furious that the tsar
wasn’t taking a harder line, but when the tsar disappeared, the extreme right
fell apart rather than coalesced into a serious force about the future.
And second, despite what many
believe, “there are no ‘real statistics’” in the Kremlin. Instead, “the
sociologists who work at the order of the Kremlin publish only that which their
paymasters want.” There may be cases when the Kremlin wants different
information, but then it ensures that those statistics aren’t published.
Window on Eurasia — New Series
1. Russia from Michael_Novakhov (114 sites)