The redistribution of power and money for the Kremlin today is far more important than the fight against opposition activists.
The tumultuous events of last Saturday in different cities of the country associated with the shares of supporters of Alexei Navalny, gave us some interesting facts to reflect on what is happening in Russia and what are the prospects of the protest movement.
The most important is the sharp contrast between how relatively peacefully, the authorities reacted to the Moscow Protestant, and as hard — to St. Petersburg. Rather, one would expect the opposite. After all, revolutions happen in capitals. That is where there is a danger of overthrow of the government through direct violent action. Whereas in other cities (even as large as St Petersburg) to overthrow, in fact, nobody. It would seem that the power was supposed primarily to demonstrators blocking the way to Kremlin along Tverskaya, whereas in other regions (from Kaliningrad to Chukotka) could give the opportunity to porosity. But it went the opposite way. Moscow “buzoter” let up for a while even at the Manege, St. Petersburg, which went nowhere, do not know why, suddenly began to seize and thrash.
To speculate about the motivations of the different regional authorities have no sense, because we are in such fortune-telling is likely to make a mistake. But there is one undeniable fact: activities for acceleration of such stock koordiniruyutsya now not at the top — mayors and governors decide the extent of their understanding of the situation. One acts according to the principle of “push and do not let go”, another shows generosity.
This means that the Kremlin, by and large, protests are not concerned. It is for him a technical rather than political. Putin does not see the Bulk of a competitor. All the words of the Kremlin propagandists about the dangers of Maidan is designed only to brainwash the population, to rally the masses around the leader. The reality of independence we have not. And no foreign agents can not create them. Putin understands this, and therefore the talk about revolution, which some “analysts” are now with a strange enthusiasm, is not considered worthy of much attention. It seems that even Sergei Kiriyenko steers the process of the Kremlin administration.
What, then, really care about the Kremlin? This, too, we can judge by the attitude of the authorities towards the Bulk. He would be planting for a few years, not for 20 days — “dvushechku” we have not for a given. However, Navalny carefully isolated only at the time of his “unhealthy” activity, and the activity time is “healthy” he is at large. Apparently, it’s beneficial to someone.
If we consider the Kremlin as a single mechanism to solve this riddle would be difficult. But the Kremlin, of course, not a single. It consists of “towers”, warring among themselves, dividing the money and high positions, vying for the “close to the body.” The highest “tower” today is Medvedev, who served as Prime Minister. But there is “Putin’s choice”, the most important result that can lead to the formation of a new government. In this regard, of course, the influence on politics of the story called “He’s not Dimon” is difficult to overestimate. Navalny ridiculed and politically humiliated the highest tower. And although Putin never takes allies under pressure, it is possible that given the many other circumstances the Bulk contribution to the victory over Medvedev will be quite important. Capture the Premiership influential people from Putin’s entourage is the much more interesting task than removing Navalny from politics. So he is quite happy with them as a temporary ally.
The most important problem for the Putin elite are fighting among themselves, because their result is a moving billions between the large pockets. On the background of the pockets and billions these people any Bulk see small. In the end, if the regime ever falter, they are with their dollars easily will move abroad. Therefore, the problem of personal enrichment is primary, and the challenge of maintaining the secondary mode.
It all and allows Bulk to exist in politics. This Alliance is mutually beneficial. Bulk decides the strategic objective, promoting anti-corruption revelations of his fame as a politician. And him benevolent “tower” to solve the challenge. Which is to discredit competitors vying with them for top posts. Tactically, Navalny still has no chance (the elections, he is not allowed), and it strategy is important. As for the “towers” of strategic objectives does not exist, because they consider only as a place for profit, which now can be cut down a lot of cash. And then dump.
Next class October 7, is that the protest movement again on the decline. And it is not a poor organization of the Moscow rally Navalny associates, as some say. The fragility of protest waves is a common trend that we see in the study of the dissenters, traffic belolentochnikov “hot winter” of 2011-2012 and present speeches of supporters of Navalny. If there is not a specific case and specific goals, the protest fizzles out. And banned the rally, but still in the absence of the Bulk, such a purpose does not exist.
Few believe that outdoor activity can achieve a tolerance of Bulk to the election. Most people are realistic about things. These people wanted in Russia were a normal democratic presidential elections, and would be ready for development of the country to do something. But clashes with police pragmatists do not perceive it as something really need at the moment.
This does not mean that overflowing activity is now meaningless. Access to the area today, as in Soviet times, is not political, but rather ethical act. Man determines for himself: the thing I’m trembling or right? Moreover, the more the government seeks to show the active part of society, if it consists of trembling creatures, the higher the desire of decent people to make at least some symbolic act. Let the politically meaningless, but meaningful in terms of moral.
From a political point of view, the events of October 7, would weaken the position of the Bulk, because the repel from him that part of society that is not impressed by power conflicts. There will be more talk about the fact that Navalny is not a positive program that he just provokes people and that the democratic movement should be working on joining forces. However, we already have a 25-year history of failed enterprises, and now for sure nothing will change again. So the only real political opposition to the Kremlin is Bulk, whether we like it or not. The only real policy Bulk — it’s not “square” and anti-corruption exposure, the magnitude of which is immeasurably greater than the magnitude of any rallies. In the political sense “the square” — a lot of Udaltsov-oriented Bolshevik strategy the time of his great-grandfather, and not on the technical challenges of the XXI century.
“Dimona” and “Seagull” strengthen society’s understanding of the true nature of the political regime. They are preparing the electorate to the time when “Putin’s elections” thing of the past and will be able to speak out for one candidate or another. Will there be this moment in the foreseeable future, we do not know. But a true politician must be able to build a strategy for the long term.
Dmitry Travin, a Professor at the European University in Saint-Petersburg