The Centre Cannot Hold
The situation is fundamentally different than in the 1990s. Then people were willing to put up with shortages because those had been a fact of life for most of their existences. Now, people who had gotten used to living better are suffering, and they are angry… Russians are learning from revolutions carried out by others. If others like the Ukrainians can succeed, why can’t Russians do the same?
… More Russians are actually taking part in protests: the number of actions in 2015 was 409, 40 percent more than a year earlier, according to the Center for Social and Labor Rights (trudprava.ru/news/protestnews/1579), and more Russians, now some 40 percent, say they are ready to take part in protests… Actions no longer involve just the creative class but the working class which is protesting wage arrears and other consequences of the economic downturn. __ Putinism Not Sustainable?
Putin’s aggressive Russian imperialism is unsustainable, and can only lead to the continental-scale or global-scale war. The only way to save Russia from total disintegration, is via the formation of autonomous republics under a loose federal system.
“Russian patriotism,” Shiropayev writes, “is always about preservation, it is always conservative and always statist and militarist and also oriented toward a strong power, toward a tsar.” It is in short always informed by reactionary and imperial values and insists on “the idea of Russia as an empire.”
A Russian “may consider himself whatever he likes, a liberal or a European, but at one fine moment, Russian patriotism turns him against independent Ukraine, Georgia and the Baltic countries. It makes him ‘a Crimea is Ours’ supporter, a backer of “Novorossiya,’ and a hater of ‘Gayeurope.’”
“In the paradigm of Russian patriotism,” the regionalist writes, “not only Crimea is ‘ours,’ but Kyiv is ‘ours and also Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius. Russian patriotism is informed by the phantom losses of the Russian Empire and the USSR.” __ Reforming the Imperialist Russian Patriot
At this point, Putin’s Russia is increasingly held together by state terror:
Only Terror Could Keep Russia from Falling Apart, Sorokin Says. Russian writer Vladimir Sorokin says that vodka and swearing help Russians to deal with the enormous gap between themselves and the Russian state but that only terror could keep the Russian Federation from disintegrating .(http://philologist.livejournal.com/8082668.html).
… Russian Police Now Training to Control Crowds Rather than Rescue Hostages. A change in police training in Russia highlights the Kremlin’s concerns: police are no longer being given special instruction on how to rescue hostages but rather training on how to control unruly crowds (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=56C6CAD1A262E). __ Neglected Stories Out of Russia
Things are getting bad in Russia. Even in Moscow — which steals from the rest of greater Russia — the people suffer more and more. Putin deprives the people of food in order to send bombs to Syria. As a result, discontent grows.
The biggest problem the government faces are those it created itself. For the moment most Russians back the government assertions that the economic mess has been caused by the West which, the government insists, is continuing the Cold War and trying to destroy Russia. Foreigners who point out that Russians do that better than anyone are dismissed as part of the problem. It’s a circular argument that worked for the Soviet government during the Cold War until, by the late 1980s, it didn’t. __ StrategyPage
2% of all working-age Russians have HIV, and the number is growing appreciably. In Russia, HIV is spread not only by intravenous drug use and homosexuality, but more increasingly through heterosexual sex — including adult and child prostitution.
Officials say that two percent of the Russian workforce is now HIV infected and that the number of both those infected and those who develop full-blown AIDS is rising with ever fewer medicines available to treat such people — (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=56C5EF736B0FD).
For a brief time, Russians had become accustomed to the artificial prosperity of inflated oil prices — which they credited somehow to Putin. Now that times are hard again, it is unlikely that Putin’s attempts to place all blame on foreigners will work for long. The only oblast where Putin is well and truly loved is Donbas. That is because everyone who says anything else is dead, has fled, or is keeping his head down.
It is obvious but rarely acknowledged that Russia is an imperial collection of colonies, with a central parasitic government located in Moscow. All of Putin’s efforts to enlarge the empire will have the paradoxical effect of speeding the rate of disintegration. Unless Russia voluntarily decentralises. That is its only hope.