GLP

GLP

***

- One hundred days of "special operation" is already more like the second Afghan war than the fulfillment of the local task of President Putin. Is there an understanding of this in Russian society?

- There is something in Russia that you might not like. We have a political regime that is not just a dictatorship. This is such authoritarian populism. It relies on a certain part of the population. This group (it is difficult to say now whether it is a majority or a minority) perceives the despotic state as a necessary evil. But evil in this world is in the order of things, and the state is necessary to protect against even greater evil, which is an external enemy (its image is carefully constructed by propaganda), as well as the threat of civil war (when different interest groups begin to sort things out with each other through violence ). The current government in these circumstances is perceived as a safeguard against an even greater catastrophe. No matter how bad we live today, tomorrow it can get much worse, so we support this government, even if it commits terrible atrocities in a neighboring country, this is how the majority in Russia thinks.

And this logic is opposed by the minority. It understands that the image of the enemy is artificially constructed by the ruling group for the sake of retaining its own power. But at the same time, this minority does not have any opportunities at its disposal to change the opinion of the majority. Hence the feeling of powerlessness, and the desire to come to terms with the existing state of affairs, having gone into private life - or simply by leaving for emigration.

- There are many speculations that the West is to blame for pitting Russia against Ukraine.

- Unfortunately, the behavior of Western governments, in this sense, only plays into the hands of the existing regime in Russia. On the one hand, the emigration of the most intelligent and successful people from Russia brings certain benefits to the host countries. On the other hand, by responding to Putin's threats with threats from its own side, the West helps him create the very image of the enemy that the authorities need to maintain their influence on the minds of the majority.

Thus, the anti-war part of the Russian population is under attack from two sides. On the one hand, it is attacked by the authorities and the population loyal to it, on the other hand, the West, with its aggressive behavior, puts the supporters of peace in Russia in the position of traitors who act in the interests of the enemy. The logic works here: whoever is not with us is against us. The answer is the internal emigration of the anti-war part of the population, its closure in its own narrow circle, without any possibility of somehow influencing the mood of the loyal part of the population.

- There are many speculations that the West is to blame for pitting Russia against Ukraine.

- Unfortunately, the behavior of Western governments, in this sense, only plays into the hands of the existing regime in Russia. On the one hand, the emigration of the most intelligent and successful people from Russia brings certain benefits to the host countries. On the other hand, by responding to Putin's threats with threats from its own side, the West helps him create the very image of the enemy that the authorities need to maintain their influence on the minds of the majority.

Thus, the anti-war part of the Russian population is under attack from two sides. On the one hand, it is attacked by the authorities and the population loyal to it, on the other hand, the West, with its aggressive behavior, puts the supporters of peace in Russia in the position of traitors who act in the interests of the enemy. The logic works here: whoever is not with us is against us. The answer is the internal emigration of the anti-war part of the population, its closure in its own narrow circle, without any possibility of somehow influencing the mood of the loyal part of the population.

- For a hundred days of war, there should be so many human losses in the Russian Federation that this is no longer an abstraction, but a specific grief among your neighbors or on your street. How do people feel about the death of their citizens in Ukraine?

- Russia is a big country. Anti-war sentiments are widespread in large cities, and most of those who serve in the army overtime are residents of relatively small cities in the provinces, beyond the Urals, or in depressed northern regions. Of course, for relatives there, the loss of a loved one is grief, but they are explained to them that your deceased is a hero. He fell in the struggle for the freedom of our homeland, in the battle with the terrible NATO (or with the Nazis in Ukraine).

In such places, there is often no work, except for crime or work as a guard in places of detention. Therefore, military service is no way out, and the risk of death is perceived as something natural. Therefore, unlike democratic societies that value human life, in deep Russia, death on the battlefield is  perceived as something unacceptable. In addition, the scale of losses is hidden, and relatives are silenced with the promise of all sorts of payments, large by the standards of the province. And if they talk, they won't get any money.

- The hopes of mankind for the arrival of other villages in the control of Russia do not come true.

- Apparently, the war drags on for a long time. The prospects for a change in the political leadership in Russia are not yet visible, and even if something happens to the first person, his ideological comrades-in-arms will most likely retain power and continue the war. Russian society is now split into two unequal parts, most of which are on the side of the authorities. The reasons for this are different, but the main one is that propaganda successfully manages to create the image of the enemy, in the face of the "collective West". This enemy is much stronger than us economically and technologically and, according to the image being created, seeks to destroy us, so all that remains for us is to rally around power and hold out to the last. Such rhetoric works best on representatives of the older generation, less educated, residents of small towns - but all this together provides the authorities with the opportunity to assert that the people are on their side.

In this state of public consciousness, the hands of the authorities are free, and they can play their geopolitical games for a long time without encountering significant resistance within the country.

Thus, among the opponents of the war, the majority finds itself in a passive position. They do not openly express their views and, although they feel the horror of what is happening, they simply try to psychologically protect themselves from it, going into private life.

*We have changed the name of the interviewer for security purposes.

 

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Post-Soviet region

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