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Tag: opposition

Shame and a disintegrated society. The curious case of Russian intelligentsia

Since the outbreak of the war in February 2022, the Kremlin has abandoned any illusions of cultural freedom in Russia. Its cynical mask has been taken off completely and now we can finally see the real and purely aggressive faces of those who wield power in the state. It is clear that Russia’s priority remains maintaining national unity rallied around the flag.

“We were getting ready, but never fully believed in the war,” said Andrii Yermak, the head of Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s presidential administration in an interview with Ukrain-ska Pravda. This conversation took place just days after the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in February. From today’s perspective, which includes our knowledge of the hide-ous atrocities committed by the Russian army against the Ukrainian people in places such as Bucha or Irpin, we can say that Yermak’s confession was an illustration of the huge naiveté of the Ukrainian political elite. This naiveté seems even more striking when it is contrasted with the other side (Russia), where steadfast cynics spoke through propagandists and official spokespersons such as Dmitry Peskov or Maria Zakharova. The Russian side was also get-ting ready. Except, it believed in the outbreak of the war.

September 30, 2022 - Wojciech Siegień

Women’s face of the opposition

The topic of women in protests has not been on the agenda in Russia until the election campaign in Belarus. And then we suddenly saw them – strong, stylish, beautiful, and, most importantly, exuding love not hate.

February 3, 2021 - Yulia Galiamina

A Belarusian house of cards

In the early stages of the system transformation, the division of the Belarusian political elite into the ruling-elite and counter-elite was more symbolic than a reflection of reality. Today, both demonstrate the features of the Homo post-Sovieticus, fitting into the post-Soviet model of political culture. However, while Lukashenka’s transformation and authoritarian modernisation have gained public support, the model promoted by the counter-elite has proved ineffective.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 the political elite played a key role in the process of systematic transformation within post-Soviet territories, including Belarus. The first years of the country’s independence marked a very important stage when the nature of establishing the political elite determined the further course of political, economic and social developments. It was the activities of the elite and counter-elite (i.e. the opposition) that influenced the dynamic of socio-political changes in Belarus.

September 2, 2018 - Maxim Rust

To challenge Putin’s regime

The Kremlin has nothing to offer Russian citizens except stability without economic growth and no clear perspective. This will eventually bring down Vladimir Putin’s regime. The opposition, however, is not yet fully ready to take power when that happens.

“Yes, Putin has many shortcomings, but there is no alternative to him.” I have heard this phrase in Russia countless times, from shopkeepers and artists, to professors of physics and retirees. I read it in Russian (mostly) state-controlled media. Nevertheless, I am surprised every time I hear it. “Well, of course not,” I usually reply. “After all, Putin takes all necessary steps so that no alternative will arise.” It is the main goal that the giant state propaganda machine, special services, heads of Russian regions and ordinary officials pursue 24 hours a day. Nineteen years after Vladimir Putin was first elected as president, the argument that there is no alternative illustrates only one thing: the absence of democracy in Russia. For many years, the country has been stuck with an authoritarian regime that has all but eliminated political competition and blocked any attempts to change the system. This is the regime’s strength as well as its weakness. Using an expression coined by leading Russian political analyst Lilia Shevtsova, the increasingly authoritarian regime needs a democratic form of legitimisation – this is the main political contradiction of the current regime in Moscow.

February 26, 2018 - Konstantin Eggert

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