‘Situation in Russia is rapidly getting out of control,’ five leading Moscow experts say

Image: rosbalt.ru

Image: rosbalt.ru 

Analysis & Opinion, Russia

The Kremlin’s backing of radical forms of patriotism and fanatic religious belief has led the situation which is “getting out of control,” according to five leading Moscow commentators. And what is most worrisome, they say, is that stopping what the regime has started “will not be a simple matter.”

In a Rosbalt article entitled “Is a Civil War Beginning in Russia,” that agency’s journalist Dmitry Remizov lists the attacks on politicians, cultural figures and rights activists that have now grown into a campaign of violence of various kinds by opponents of the film “Mathilda” and surveyed five leading commentators about the trend.

Valery Solovey, an MGIMO professor and frequent commentator, says that “a great deal of hatred” has built up in Russia, thanks in part to state policies. The government attacks various groups, and many in the population read that as license to attack these groups in ways that the authorities themselves have not yet done.

Valery Solovey

Valery Solovey

Still worse, he says, the government has given support to some radical groups ranging from “religious or pseudo-religious activists to biker clubs,” the historian continues. And what is worrisome is that “even if the state financing of these people ends … this process will not stop on a dime.” It will continue for a time “by inertia.”

According to Solovey, “the state has handed over part of the right to use force to arbitrary organizations of activists [and] therefore they can do everything they want. Among these peoples are not simply insane people but insane people who are radically inclined.”

He says that in his view, the government now is “not very happy” that it backed these groups. But it is not clear to the authorities how they can stop it. Ending support isn’t enough. “Decisive steps” will be necessary, “but the powers that be are clearly not prepared to do that,” at least not yet.

“I don’t think,” Solovey says, “that all this will acquire some colossal extent. But in certain cases, even one or two terrorist acts or attacks are sufficient to generate a wave of the strongest emotions and not only within Russia.”

Aleksey Sinelnikov, a Moscow political analyst, says that all the recent violence has one interesting common feature: all the attacks are “politically anonymous. No organized force takes responsibility for them. Even demands like not showing a film are a fiction because how can one today really make such a demand credible.”

Aleksey Sinelnikov

Aleksey Sinelnikov

But no one is prepared to come down hard on these people. The Russian Orthodox Church doesn’t disown those who act in its name, and what that means, the analyst continues, is that Russia doesn’t face “an Orthodox jihad” as some have suggested but “a real jihad of anonymous terror, that is, an ordinary total war” against those these people oppose.

“The situation is so serious,” he argues, that one is justified in concluding that it is “a new type of war” and calling for the harshest measures against those who are participating in it.

Roman Romanov, a Moscow sociologist, says that one of the reasons things have gotten out of hand is that senior political figures, including Russian State Duma members, often say things that have an impact they may not even intend because they do not always understand how their words are understood beyond the ring road.

Roman Romanov

Roman Romanov

“They do not understand that there are many people who are just waiting for some ‘suitable’ signal” to act as they want. Now, it is important that those who send such signals intentionally or not be held to account because what they have started will be anything but easy to stop.

Vitaly Cherkasov, a lawyer and longtime rights activist, says that the Russian authorities were supportive of popular activism when things were good before the 2008 crisis but failed to recognize that such activism, with new targets including the regime itself, would be redirected once things went bad.

Vitaly Cherkasov

Vitaly Cherkasov

In response, he says, the regime has established the Russian Guard as well as “flying squads” of radical Orthodox activists “in order to frighten … or prompt to flee” those who oppose the government. The regime’s hopes for a return of the “fat” years are “illusory,” the lawyer continues, and the regime is now promoting by action and inaction “’lynch law.’”

Dmitry Gudkov, an opposition politician, says that “when the authorities lose the monopoly on force, this always ends with civil clashes. It begins with a struggle with dissidents and ends with a struggle against the powers themselves.” Now people may burn the cars of lawyers but “tomorrow they may burn” those of ministers.

Dmitry Gudkov

Dmitry Gudkov

“And bureaucrats must understand this,” Gudkov says. “If the authorities do not react to such methods of settling political scores, it will give a signal to all marginals: if you support the little father tsar, you can do whatever you want.” As Russian history has shown repeatedly, “this is very dangerous.”

Marginals, he continues, “are people of a determined frame of mind: they do not see any borders or limits for action. Already, no one will be able to stop this because the monopoly on the use of force has been destroyed.” The only hope is that the powers that be will come down hard on all who violate the law.

Unfortunately, he suggests, there is little indication that those in charge are prepared to do that.

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Edited by: A. N.

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  • veth

    RUSSIAN TROLLS, LOOK, YOUR TROOPS ON HOLIDAY IN DONBASS!

    https://youtu.be/WCmVQIqJt2o

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      The Savushkina trolls won’t be able to claim T-90s as being “captured from the Ukrainian army” as the T-90 never entered service with the Ukrainians. The only possible source is Dwarfstan.

      • veth

        Or like many say, found in coal mines in Donbass, how you drive an T90 into an coal mine? and why should you? hahahahah

      • Tony

        When pressed, they resort to ridiculous mental gymnastics. Like saying that UA built its own T72B3’s or T90’s and somehow fooled pro russian journalists and troops into believing its their own.
        It reminds me of that purple liar back on UAToday claiming that a UA bomber jet was took down MH17 by flying below the radar and launching some legendary air-to-air missile that flew up 10km and somehow left damage consistent with a BUK missile. Just desperate excuses from liars who cant admit the truth no matter what.

        • Oknemfrod

          “Mental” indeed – in that particular sense of the adjective.

          • Ihor Dawydiak

            Yes, “Mental” indeed and also highly ironic.The “putinistas” have been so adamant to exert State control over the every day lives of Russian citizens but at the same time have allowed criminal groups to wreak havoc against the general population. Clinically defined, this amounts to a form of Anarchism which is exactly the opposite of what was intended by the State authorities. All in all a nice mess which could potentially point to another Russian Revolution.

          • Screwdriver

            Russian Revolutions always affecting Ukraine. Communism and Anarchism became very popular in Ukraine during Nestor Makhno times..
            Looks like still is actually, take a look:
            http://gorod.dp.ua/image2.php?&art_id=8824&&n=11

          • Ihor Dawydiak

            The separate revolutions that occurred in Russia and Ukraine from the years of 1917-1922 had one common trait. That included varying degrees of chaos involving different groups who were vying for power with some of them being very localized. One of those localized uprisings included the Makhnovist (Anarchist) movement led by Nestor Makhno which for the most part centered their activities while taking advantage of a power vacuum in Southeastern Ukraine. It should also be pointed out that almost all Ukrainian, Russian and international historians have shared a common view that Makhno and his followers, while proclaiming themselves as anarchists, were nothing more than an organized group of bandits. In addition, their limited popularity was based on promises that they for the most part could not deliver. As for anarchists in the current context, unlike the situation in Russia, they are almost non-existent in Ukraine. Moreover, any buffoon can dress up as an anarchist (as in the pictures you provided) but that hardly reflects on how they could influence the general population.

      • Screwdriver

        Really great if Dagestan indeed helped Ukrainian rebels ! Too bad they did not use air strikes on Ukrainian troops. :-(

        • Rafael Hernandez

          Many innocent civillians would have been saved if it indeed happened

        • Kruton

          #communist lunatic

        • Dagwood Bumstead

          Screwie, old eunuch, do you really have to repeatedly prove your illiteracy? NOWHERE did I or nobody else write “Dagestan”- yet you persist in reading it.

    • Rafael Hernandez

      So what, these are DNR territory. The government can invite whomever they want. Guess what, they didn’t invite the Ukrainian army, especially since they commit warcrimes in Donbass

      • zorbatheturk

        Bogov, kremtu rd.

      • gmab

        DNR doesn’t exist therefore there is no legit government just a bunch of heroine addicts ripping off and killing innocents. How many ruble cheques come to Rafael H?? Can you cash them? No.

      • Kruton

        #Bolshevik nutjob

    • zorbatheturk

      Maybe RuSSian tourists rented those tanks at Hertz.

  • Tony

    “Russia doesn’t face “an Orthodox jihad” as some have suggested”

    Ahh but that will also come and russia will slide into a theocracy, thats why its foolish to mess with separation of church and state.

  • Screwdriver

    “campaign of violence of various kinds by opponents of the film “Mathilda”

    Just a reminder – film “Mathilda” was actually sponsored by the government.

    • Oknemfrod

      Yes, which makes the whole spectacle of the tug-of-war between its opponents and advocates – both licking the dwarf’s behind – all the more idiotic and amusing to behold.

  • zorbatheturk

    The RuSSia will implode both economically and politically soon enough. Like the former country known as Jugoslavia, it is an artificial construct. Only Stalin’s Soviet ghost is still holding the evil empire together. Putin cannot fill Stalin’s shoes. RuSSia has totally failed as a state. It was built on lies, terror, and fear. The symbol of RuSSia is the Gulag. Even the SS visited RuSSia prior to WW2 to learn how to set up concentration camps.

    • 159357

      ahh, the SS, good guys 😀

      • zorbatheturk

        You RuSSkies love em.

  • zorbatheturk

    All decent humans must support Siberian independence. Siberia for the Siberians – not the Mosckals! Long live the independent Republic of Siberia!

    Yeah! Go Siberia!

  • 159357

    just send them into the ukraine. —> problem solved!