Mikhail Khodorkovsky: The Coming Years Will Be The Toughest In Vladimir Putin’s Life

May 7, 2018

An important, obvious and predictable conclusion you could make in comparison with the demonstrations around the 2012 inauguration of Vladimir Putin is that repression has successfully reduced the size of the protest movement by about 10 times, but has nevertheless toughened those who did take a stand.

Photo: Valentin Egorshin

The people who are now prepared to come out and demonstrate are now prepared for violent confrontation.  The authorities have once again raised the stakes; now they’re really beating people.  From the side of the Kremlin authorities there are two options left: mass repression and live fire amidst barricades.

The main problem is that this youthful protest movement is overshadowed by a whole generation of parents; a generation who are all too familiar with the use of force; people whose adulthood took place throughout the 1990s.  The Kemerovo mall fire showed that even the accidental death of children can produce a severe and unexpected reaction.  This is one of many things that could trigger an avalanche.

Moreover, four years of stagnation has shattered people’s future prospects, particularly in the country’s more remote regions, and this protest movement is spreading across the country.  The liberal-democratic opposition has brought a form of left-wing protest to the streets, and today’s “Communists”, having become social-democrats, are now Kremlin collaborations, in short: they are servants.  We need real allies on the left, not cowards who have been corrupted by power.

The Kremlin has three options: controlled liberalisation, which will allow us to hope for a soft transition of power (although it’s doubtful Putin would allow such a thing); a new long-term rise in living standards (in short: a fantasy); or another foreign military adventure, which would certainly end in a lot of blood being spilled.  There is no good option here.  The coming years will be the toughest years of Putin’s life, and he himself is responsible for that.

Our most important common task is political education.  There is very little time left, perhaps just a few years.  The only question is: what does the future have in store for Russia besides the collapse of the Putin regime? A new dictatorship? European democracy?  The answer to that question depends on us and our efforts today.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email