Piegarsi a Putin? No, grazie


Molti in Occidente, e soprattutto in Italia, capiscono che in Russia non esiste una vera democrazia, ma si dicono convinti che, dopotutto, Vladimir Putin sia molto popolare e che riuscirebbe ad essere eletto in ogni caso, tutte le volte che si presentasse. Questo, per chi conosce la Russia, è una totale ingenuità. Putin vince solo perché tutto il sistema è soggetto al suo regime, e l’opposizione ha le mani legate oppure finisce in prigione. Corruzione e autoritarismo cementano il sistema di potere putiniano: la pentola popolare sta cominciando a bollire, l’esito è da verificare. Ma l’importante è che gli occidentali non continuino a chiuedere gli occhi e a sognare un Putin inesistente, solo per vincere le loro frustrazioni.

Bow to Putin? No, thanks

On the 7th of May Vladimir Putin is going to start officially his next presidential term. The second one in-a-row and the forth one in total.

Some of my foreign friends say: okay, this doesn’t look pretty much like a real democracy but you have to admit that Putin is popular. He would easily win the election anyway, even if you guys (meaning Russian opposition) could candidate officially (you can’t but nobody really cares). And yes, we may not like (very often) what he is doing but still he is a strong leader and he knows how to meet the expectations of the majority of Russians.

Moreover, in some western countries like Italy they used to add: hey, you are talking about Russian corruption but you just don’t understand the scale of corruption that we used to deal with. Matey, it is roughly the same all around the world. All right, maybe in some exotic places like Norway or New Zealand they arguably managed to reduce corruption to zero – but in major countries it still exists. This is just the world, don’t be naive.

Oh well. Let me just make you feel the difference.

Can you imagine that in Italy or, say, in Brazil or even in South Africa after a fire accident with dozens of casualties the local governor first thing asks the president for forgiveness? Yes, the president – not the families who lost their children. And a member of parliament commenting this who says: “This is just unacceptable to let our respected President down in this way while he has been struggling for global strategic goals”. I’m describing what happened several weeks ago in Kemerovo, a regional centre in Siberia.

Or is it possible that Italian authorities for security reasons temporarily shut down IP addresses of Amazon and Google? This is happening in Russia right now.

Maybe somewhere still exist a strong leader who used to jail his opponents’ relatives? Hey, I’m not talking about the Game of Thrones world. It is Oleg Navalny, brother of the most popular Russian opposition leader who has been staying behind the bars for more than three years. By the way, seven months ago the European Court of Human rights ruled that Alexei Navalny and his brother Oleg had been unfairly convicted of financial crimes. Russian court has virtually ignored this.

All these weird things – and many, many other more disgusting ones – did happen in Russia. And, alas, for the time being this is a never ending story. Don’t tell me that Russians want it themselves. Of course, they don’t. The frustration of people is constantly growing, maybe not necessarily due to lack of freedoms but definitely due to a wide range of social and economic problems. (Just to mention, google “Volokolamsk protests”). The Kremlin has been managing to mitigate the tensions by means of propaganda (we live in a besieged fortress, enemies are insidious and numerous, thanks God we still have Vladimir Putin, bla bla) and of byzantine politics of manipulation. What they peddle is as simple as that: to oppose the regime may be dangerous but, more important, it just doesn’t make sense. You are doomed to loose. All kinds of elections are meticulously designed to secure overwhelming victories for pro-Putin candidates (this doesn’t work perfectly well at municipal level but local issues are not that important so far). Serious discussions in media sink in oceans of trolling and lies. Street rallies don’t let you obtain any positive results, so why taking the risks?

Yet there are some people (including Navalny, municipal activists, #DigitalResistance etc) who don’t give up. La lotta continua. What they need is some solidarity and recognition of their efforts. Don’t repeat silly things like “Putin would win anyway, he is a strong leader, majority of Russians still want him”. Majority of Russians didn’t have a chance to see the real alternatives, Putin’s machine dominates major national media and domestic politics for almost two decades and this environment is extremely hostile for grassroots of any kind.

And last not least. I know there is a lot of problems in any democracy of the world. I understand that hundreds of millions of people hate their own bureaucracies. I am aware of the fact that sometimes the big US brother imposes certain things upon the world or at least many people outside US feel it happens this way (and this feeling in the age of post-truth is more important than reliability of this presumption).

But, folks, don’t you use Putin’s icon to heal your own frustrations. It just doesn’t work. We have tested this, it’s official.

di Denis Bilunov

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