An internet poll organized by a prominent independent Russian journalist, Andrey Karaulov, has demonstrated that only 2% of Russians trust authorities. The total number of people that participated in the poll is 2,244,147.
It is important to note that the held poll demonstrated the attitude of people towards the current governance system, not President Vladimir Putin.
The trust level of Putin among the Russian population is always higher than the level of trust to authorities in general. According to the Russian Public Opinion Research Center, Putin’s trust level in March 2020, amid the developing global economic and coronavirus crises, was 28.3%.
The impact of the global economic decline, harsh restrictions imposed in large Russian cities, first of all Moscow, due to the spread of COVID-19 and their impact on the social and economic life of the country are among the main reasons of dissatisfaction of citizens with actions of authorities.
Even now, when the situation with the spread of coronavirus in Russia is reportedly comparable with the spread of seasonal flu in recent years and a large part of restrictions imposed by the federal government is lifted, some local authorities continue enforcing bureaucratic procedures and restrictions under pretext of combating the spread of disease.
The strange situation is observed in Moscow, where the team of notorious mayor Sergey Sobyanin goes fully in the framework of its earlier approach of tightening the screws. In many cases formalism and paper work dominate over the real care about the health of Moscow residents. This situation is especially clear in the field of face mask requirements. In particular, authorities pressure markets to not sell goods and services to people without masks. On the other hand, people that formally demonstrate their mask (for example, on a jaw) are not targeted by any restrictions. Fees and penalties for violations of the coronavirus restrictions still remain in force. At the same time, more and more public gathering areas and public spaces, including cinemas, are being opened. Seaside resort in the Russian regions of Crimea and Krasnodar are full of domestic tourists. The restrictive approach of Moscow authorities in these conditions causes an apparent perplexity.
Local experts point that Moscow authorities, and possibly federal authorities, are employing the widely-known Overton window concept to impose more and more limitations by painting them as something obvious and unavoidable. According to this version, the real goal is not to protect the health of people, but to force them to obey newly imposed, even strange or unfounded, norms. Thus, the group of elites that promotes this approach likely believes that it will be able to set conditions for a further digitalization and atomization of the society. Moscow is on the spearhead of these efforts. Some may even suggest that by these actions, the Western-affiliated part of the Russian elite is trying to build its own ‘local neo-liberal paradise’ on the territory of the Russian capital in order to compensate the losses suffered due to the closure of borders and the developing collapse of the concept of ‘united Europe’. This new ‘paradise’ is being built in the best practices of the modern Western neo-liberal fascism, which became the mainstream trend in the ‘democratic world’.
All these developments happen amid the slowly but steadily developing crisis in neighboring Belarus, which will likely reach its peak after the presidential election on August 9. Just recently, Belarusian authorities detained 33 Russians (supposedly private military contractors) accusing them of being hired to destabilize the situation in Belarus. This version does not hold up against criticism and even the Belarusian government acts like it does not believe in its own words. According to reports in social media, pro-Western organized groups have been actively preparing to exploit the August 9 election in the country and the current difficulties in the Belarusian-Russian relations (mostly caused by actions of Minsk) to destabilize the situation. If Western-funded groups really stage a coup and seize power in Belarus, the following deep social and political crisis may trigger the intensification of negative political tendencies in Russia. This may lead to a larger crisis fueled by the dissatisfaction of the population with the negative consequences of the economic decline and coronavirus crisis.
MORE ON THE TOPIC: