As in Stalin’s time, Russians are now denouncing other Russians simply in order to get their apartments, their jobs or other benefits, a trend that reflects the current moral degradation of Russian society and one that can lead to a situation in which denunciations and purges get out of hand, according to Kseniya Kirillova.
A dangerous new low has been reached in Russia today, the Novy Region-2 commentator says. People are not just hating and denouncing others as a result of the messages of the Kremlin-controlled media. They are doing so in order to obtain for themselves real “dividends” independent of ideology.
Many will recall the stories of how people during the Great Purge denounced their neighbors in order to get their rooms, snitched on bosses in order to get their jobs, and turned in their wives in order to take new lovers. In short, people then used such tactics “as a means of solving their personal problems.”
“Similar processes are taking place in Russia today,” Kirillova says, and she refers to a case she dealt with during her earlier career as a lawyer when a priest sought to gain control of another church by denouncing its pastor as an extremist. But that is far from the only one, and this use of personal greed “in no way is distinguished for the methods of Stalin’s NKVD.”
Two things make this development especially disturbing, the commentator says.
- On the one hand, it means that denunciations will take on a life of their own, spreading possibly in ways even those who triggered this process do not want or may even feel threatened by if it continues for very long.
- And on the other and more worrisome still, it contributes to the further “moral degradation” of people there and in “society as a whole,” something that is “an irreversible process.” When people get used to crimes, be they denunciations or murders, they are likely to commit ever more of them.
The Putin regime has been teaching Russians to hate: liberals, a fifth column, the US and the West, and the Ukrainians, she writes. Moreover, “Russians have become accustomed to the idea that the Kremlin can do whatever it wants on the territory of their native country and then on the territory of other countries.”
And that sense that the authorities can do anything without regard to legal or moral constraints is spreading into the population which not surprisingly is seeking to find ways in which it can survive or even better prosper personally from this situation – often by denouncing others to get what they have.
Many have spoken about “the dehumanization of Russia” and about its transformation into “a parody of a normal country,” one in which all values have been discredited. That is “the chief crime of the current powers that be,” Kirillova says. And that prompts the question: “how can people who have lost their humanity again become people?”
“Unfortunately,” Kirillova says, “history shows that such crimes do not pass without a trace.” Worse, she concludes, history shows “that as a rule it doesn’t finish without bloodshed” of one kind or another.