Staunton, June 6 – The Kremlin’s remarkable ability to blame foreign “enemies” for the problems is a major reason that no one should expect a Maidan in Russia anytime soon, Kseniya Kirillova says. And this is not so much a reflection of any “imperial consciousness” among Russians as the identification Russians make between the state and the nation.
When Russians consider their situation unbearable, they may be ready to protest; but they won’t, she says, if the powers that be are successful in persuading them that these problems are the result of the actions of outside forces. Then, the Russian population will line up behind the government however it feels.
In that event, Kirillova argues, “the state finally takes the place of the motherland in the consciousness of people and the individual seeks the support of the course taken by the state as the only means of maintaining links with Russia,” an attitude that affects both “hurrah patriots” and thinking people as well.
In support of that argument, the Novy Region-2 commentator cites the words of Yuri Izotov, an activist of the Yekaterinburg for Freedom movement, about the attitudes of his relatives in the Urals. “Putin is our president,” they say. “Crimea is ours. The government, Gayropa [Gay Europe] and the lousy Americans are to blame for everything, but not Putin.”
Such people, Izotov says, no longer deny that there are Russian troops in Ukraine, but they say that “if they weren’t there, then the cursed Americans would come and in general in Ukraine Americana and Arab mercenaries are fighting, while Russia is an Orthodox country and therefore closer to Ukraine than those arrivistes from across the sea.”
And they continue that they “must support the policy of the country in which [they] live.” If now, then they will become “an internal enemy and should not live in Russia.” For many, Kirillova says, that is a compelling argument, one that means the television is still defeating the refrigerator in the minds of Russians.
In addition to that factor, Kirillova points to three other reasons for her conclusion that no one should expect a Maidan in Russia anytime soon. First, the Russian authorities are prepared to take far harsher measures against anyone who demonstrates again them than were the Ukrainians.
Second, there is not the synthesis of patriotic (national) ideas with liberal ones of the kind that has formed in Ukraine. And third, and this may be especially important, “Putin has still have been able to convince many Russians that however much they dislike him, he is “’a lesser evil’” than anything that might come in his place.