9 votes

Anti-Putin protest in Russia’s far east attracts thousands for a fourth weekend

3 comments

  1. [3]
    ThatFanficGuy
    Link
    Before you ask: Large-scale anti-Putin protests have been common to the Russian political landscape for at least a decade. None of this comes into limelight on Russian TV. Far east of Russia is a...

    Before you ask:

    1. Large-scale anti-Putin protests have been common to the Russian political landscape for at least a decade.

    2. None of this comes into limelight on Russian TV.

    3. Far east of Russia is a very big part of the country, but this particular protest is confined to the city of Khabarovsk, one of the largest cities in the region. Similar protests have been popping up all over the country (see link in point 1), mainly in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

    4. "Russia without Putin" is one of my favorite political slogans.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      Kuromantis
      Link Parent
      Just one more question, concerning this bit at the end of the article: Where is the state? Is Putin handling these protests peacefully to say he's doing it better than Trump and Russia is freer...

      Just one more question, concerning this bit at the end of the article:

      Sustained demonstrations are unusual for Russia’s regions, as is a lack of response from the authorities to break them up.

      Where is the state? Is Putin handling these protests peacefully to say he's doing it better than Trump and Russia is freer than the US? That can't be if the various state-owned news networks are pretending these protests don't exist.

      If usually the state does appear, why hasn't it now? It's been a few weeks so "the country is too big" is not the reason.

      3 votes
      1. ThatFanficGuy
        Link Parent
        That is a good question. Some time ago on this forum @Algernon_Asimov and I were talking about the reasoning behind Putin's trying to manipulate the consititution to fit his needs, rather than...

        That is a good question.

        Some time ago on this forum @Algernon_Asimov and I were talking about the reasoning behind Putin's trying to manipulate the consititution to fit his needs, rather than seize the power in a straight authoritarian fashion. Our conclusion was: we don't know why he needs that, but it's evident that he does. He's been pretending about the legality of things for a while to maintain his grip on power in Russia and the world; the pattern is there. Why there needs to be a pattern is currently beyond me.

        It may be connected with the idea that Putin's administration has been propagating for a long while now: that it isn't all that better in the countries of the West, so whatever hardships Russians experience, they may well experience in Russia (meaning they stay, pay taxes, and work here), because nothing's all that different outside. Which is, of course, bullshit, but it is a stably-employed strategy. Everywhere has its problems; what Putin tries to do is make it seem like their problems are just as bad as our problems.

        Maintaining an illusion of allowed opposition would play into his hand. He's not an autocrat if he allows people to protest. Some of those protesters just happen to have some degree of blatantly-falsified charges against them. He tries to present himself as not someone who rules with an iron fist but as someone who is tough but fair. I assume allowing some degree of protesting to go on – while keeping their temperature level by imprisoning a handful of protesters – plays into that image for a superfluous, careless overview.

        That may have been largely the case a year ago.

        COVID-19 hit Russia hard. You've probably seen the news about people falling out of windows after criticizing Putin's response to the coronavirus. The link is from May; since then, a policeman has received the same treatment for similar reasons, though I can't find the link to talk about it. Methods this blatant and harsh have usually been employed towards political enemies of Putin's, so why doctors?

        Putin has been quite distant in his rule since the coronavirus. Several of his close friends and underlings have contracted COVID-19 during the last few months, which is but one reason why he now sits in his dacha, meekly guiding the country from the sidelines, while the governors and the mayors have become the sole bearers of the responsibility for the outcome of the pandemic. The latter linked article suggests that this is Putin's way of distancing himself from the bad decisions he took no part in (in a "wasn't my fault" way) and getting credit for the good ones enabled by him ("I made that happen").

        Then there's the fact that he's playing the public – including the staggeringly-similar type of bullshit certain kinds of Americans are fond of expressing ("it's not that bad", "masks don't help anyway" etc. etc.). Making it looks like everything is under control when it very much isn't.

        The façade is tough, but the reality is: the situation in Russia is brittle. Balancing that with maintaining a steady rule over a large country is not easy. Whatever the reasoning for Putin's playing soft, it has to be fuckin' worth it in his eyes.

        There's money involved (see the Panama Papers), certainly, but I would think it's more about the power of it. Someone somewhere responded with this juicy comment about what's next for Russia's extranational operations. This works along well with the idea that Putin's been playing the West for the last couple of decades in order to ensure the chaos that he could thrive in. Hacking the latest US election is but one piece of the puzzle he's laid out.

        So why no response? Perhaps Putin wants to survive 2020 as the President of Russia.

        6 votes