By Treating Everyone As an Enemy, Kremlin Is Undermining Itself

February 4, 2015
Svetlana Davydova with her husband and children | Kommersant

Staunton, February 3 — The arrest and charging of Svetlana Davydova, the Vyzama homemaker, with treason for calling the Ukrainian embassy “has become a concentrated expression not only of the cruelty but of the stupidity of the current regime” in Moscow, according to Kseniya Kirillova.

That is because it displays the propensity of the Kremlin to treat all who disagree with it as enemies, thus unintentionally inflicting “greater harm on itself than could even its most severe critics” by suggesting that no Moscow policy can be changed unless the regime is replaced.

“Judge for yourself,” Kirillova says. The Kremlin treats calls for honest elections as “an armed coup sponsored by the West,” the protests of doctors against hospital reform as “a CIA propaganda action, the struggle for human rights as an attempt to ‘change power in Russia’ … [and] anti-war appeals treason and the actions of ‘a fifth column.’”

By so doing, she continues, “the System completely identifies itself with the lie, legal arbitrariness, corruption, destruction and war,” and thus teaches all who watch it that “it is impossible to correct even one of these listed shortcomings without having carried out a revolution.”

That lesson is reaching even those who do not want a revolution but would rather find a way to “constructively resolve” this or that problem. But “the regime does not offer people compromises and half-way measures.” Instead, it “puts before its citizens the cruel choice: ‘all or nothing.’”

“Either you must without qualification accept everything that the authorities do,” the message goes, “or you automatically will become an enemy and a traitor.” But “by elevating any manifestation of dissatisfaction into the rank of revolution, the powers that be are forcing the development of a revolution,” Kirillova argues.

As she points out, in English, there is the term, “self-fulfilling prophecy,” which refers to a situation in which individuals or groups assume something is true and act as if it were create the conditions whereby it becomes true. That is exactly what Vladimir Putin and his entourage are doing and thus transforming their “worst nightmares” into reality

Kirillova notes that “Putin so fears that he will suffer the fate of Slobodan Milosevic or Qaddafi that he has been doing everything possible and impossible to replicate their fate precisely. He so fears the expansion of NATO that he has driven formerly friendly Ukraine to a desire to join the alliance.”

“But most of all, the Russian dictator is afraid of ‘an orange revolution,’ so afraid in fact that he has created all thinkable and unthinkable conditions for it: he has deprived the people of the peace and stability he promised, he has intensified repressions and declared to be revolutionaries and in some cases traitors people who are in no way deserving of that.”

Putin has proved himself incapable of understanding that not everyone who protests wants a revolution. Most want much more limited things, and in other countries, governments understand that and respond. But if they cannot get those things from the current powers, they will ultimately be driven to demand a new set of people at the top and that is a revolution.

The only reason a revolution has not yet happened in Russia up to now, Kirillova says, is “the passivity and inert quality of the citizens and also in the still effective impact of propaganda.” But “sooner or later, the efforts of Vladimir Putin will be crowned with success,” and he will be overthrown because he will have taught everyone that there is no other way.