Sociologists from the Levada Center made another measurement of the degree of protest sentiment in Russian society.
Judging by the results of their survey, respondents still prefer the external factor in explaining socio-economic problems and are not going to help the geopolitical competitors of the Russian Federation to rock our state boat. So, all 8% of respondents expressed willingness to participate in rallies and other protests under political slogans. The economic motivation to go out on the street is a bit stronger - approximately 12% of respondents are ready to oppose a fall in the standard of living and in defense of their economic rights. True, the very possibility of holding actions with socio-economic requirements does not exclude 17% (the high potential of the protest events with a pronounced political color is seen as 12%).
One way or another, as the researchers emphasize, this is one of the lowest figures in recent years. However, not everyone agrees with such a tract, seeing an element of the so-called “result” that lulls power and public with such results. “Formative sociology”. In particular, State Duma Deputy Vladimir Kashin, who heads the All-Russian Protest Action Headquarters, claims that the Russian ruling elite has no reason for complacency. According to this organization, Russia, if the emerging trend continues, may soon be covered by the “ninth wave” of mass protests. The parliamentarian draws attention to the fact that if last year 277 passed various kinds of actions in the country (strikes, hunger strikes, blocking access roads), then in just 9 months of the current restless year the number of such excesses reached 300.
Among the most resonant mass protests can be noted protests against mass cuts in the capital of the Russian car industry city of Togliatti. In the Irkutsk region, the salaries of metallurgists and workers of the Baikal pulp and paper mill demand an increase. In Moscow and Ufa, doctors regularly go out into the street, dissatisfied with the “optimization” of the sector of budgetary medical institutions, wage cuts and layoffs. Residents of Astrakhan, Tyumen, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Tomsk and the Rostov region are protesting against a sharp increase in tariffs for utility services.
Of course, it can be argued that the rampant "marsh" or "Pikalevo" passions are still far away. However, the relative calm may be pre-storm. What is eloquently shown by the fading economic growth, the almost shock devaluation of the ruble and other economic processes, the negative dynamics of which indicate that Russia faces a serious test of strength.
The answer to the question of readiness to take part in protest rallies is not always indicative, said Sergey Vasiltsov, director of the Center for the Study of Russian Political Culture.
- Therefore, I am not sure that this kind of sociology accurately reflects the mood of the masses. On the other hand, our people generally have less interest in politics as such. This is due to the fact that the political instruments existing in Russia practically do not work. Since the decision making process is vertical. To intervene and somehow correct it from the outside is almost impossible. Citizens feel this, hence the low interest in speeches of this kind and in general to participate in political life.
"SP": - It would seem that if the system tools to influence power do not work, and the economic situation worsens, this should spur protest activity. Maybe the experience of Ukraine, where the “Maidan” orgy continues, has a sobering effect?
- In Ukraine, a slightly different political culture and structure of the political space. By and large, Russians do not have a passion for protest activity. A couple of years ago, as we remember, a “marsh” wave of discontent rolled over, but it quickly subsided. I do not think that the Ukrainian events influenced the cooling of interest in mass protests. I repeat, it has not been particularly visible before.
Yes, in the course of the “marshland” process a structure emerged that called itself the opposition. On the other hand, what is 50 thousand people for a city with 15 million population? And in the province there was silence. We must pay tribute to the media, which have done everything possible to present it almost as the only form of opposition.
“SP”: - Why is the level of protest activity almost higher in economically more prosperous societies than in Russia? Suffice it to recall the recent riots in Ferguson, swept across the United States. Or quite “fresh” orgy of street elements in Brussels.
- In these countries, a completely different structure of the political space. In Russia, protest actions and other mass protests are organized (or rather, they are trying to do this) by political parties. In the West, such actions (strikes, rallies, etc.) are organized by trade unions. In our country, trade unions are independent only on paper; they act as part of the system. In fact, these are only organizations that collect social tax, which is mainly spent on the maintenance of the structure itself.
"SP": - But modern trade unions in the West are not the same as they were in the twentieth century, when the "factor of the USSR" worked, where an unprecedentedly high level of protection of workers' rights was achieved.
- However, traditions are preserved. Moreover, in the countries of Mediterranean culture, trade unions are associated with the left movement. In Italy, Greece or Portugal, trade unions can take millions to the streets.
"SP": - 300 shares for 9 months of the current year amid worsening economic situation - is it a lot or a little?
“For a country where 146 has millions of people, 300 shares, by Western standards, is a six-month“ norm ”of a million-plus city. What we have is a very small indicator. By analogy with Europe, protest activity in Russia should be measured by thousands of speeches.
"SP": - What plays the role of a deterrent?
- People do not believe in politics, hence the low protest activity. The previous period of economic stabilization and the strengthening of the financial position of citizens in the “zero” years also work to reduce it.
"SP": - In theory, the more difficult should be perceived current difficulties. Or in conditions of economic depression, people are more concerned about the problems of survival, not thinking about politics?
- As Lenin wrote, raising people to protest on a nationwide scale is a long and difficult job. It’s not necessary to wait that the street will rise spontaneously - the situation is not so critical.
"SP": - How likely is a "Maidan" scenario in Russia?
- It should already hurt the head of those who are in power. It's time to finally decide what policy they are pursuing. Either this is a nationally oriented course, or we continue to “be friends” with the whole world, no matter how he spits our physiognomy. In the second case, it remains only to wait until another dirty trick is thrown from abroad. Our authorities scare a lot with the possibility of the “Maidan” scenario, but they do very little to prevent it. As a significant part of the ruling elite propagated a course toward the West, it continues to do this. There is no adequate response to new challenges. I am surprised at the frivolity of some people who have real levers in their hands. Endless self-comforting and explanatory conversations with Western "partners" about how bad it is to offend Russia will hardly stop the latter.
"SP": - How long can a society be in a state of mobilization in conditions of confrontation with the West?
- Uniting the nation around an external threat is a traditional tool that is used not only by the Russian elites. But it would be much better if the sanctions and the associated reduction in imports were not used as a way to write off our leadership’s miscalculations to “force majeure circumstances”, but to reject an insolvent raw-material economic model. It is necessary to raise the economy and, above all, the sphere of real production. Now is the best time to move from talk to business. If our authorities are engaged in the restoration of Russia's economic sovereignty, this will be the best response to Western sanctions.
Vladimir Khomyakov, co-chairman of the People’s Cathedral movement, noted that the results of the Levada Center poll are confirmed by the well-known theory of passionality of Lev Gumilyov.
- According to the ideas of our great compatriot, passionate people in any society of the order of 5-7%. And both in a positive and in a negative sense of the word. In our case, one part of the owners of excess internal energy wants to save the state, and the other to destroy it. All the others are neither. The situation does not depend on how many people want to go out tomorrow (by the way, 8% and 12% are quite a lot). This number is always about the same. It is much more important how the “swamp”, consisting of pragmatists, who are only interested in their own pockets, will react to this. The focus of their actions will depend solely on the nature of the changed circumstances.
Let's recall the textbook situation - the February 1917 revolution of the year. It would seem that just a couple of months before February, there were no prerequisites for the emergence of a revolutionary situation: neither riots, nor a wave of strikes.
"SP": - And what, I'm sorry, the war with Germany?
- The most interesting thing is that the Russian Empire won in this war. Within half a year, we would have squeezed Germany, having received a huge indemnity from it, plus the Black Sea straits. The world war dragged on for an extra year solely because of Russia's withdrawal from it. Nonetheless, workers in defense enterprises, who had been called up for military service, adjoined to unrest in St. Petersburg. Plus spare shelves that did not want to go to the front and were just mad about the adrenaline rush.
Lenin literally one month before the February Revolution gathered in the emigration young social democrats and admitted that he sees no prospects in terms of the development of a revolutionary situation. He even said that during his life there would most likely be no revolution. However, after a short time, the February revolution as an intra-elite coup (change of elites), disguised as something nationwide with the help of street activity, occurred in Russia. In order to give it legitimacy in the eyes of the people. Just yesterday, people sang "God save the Tsar!", And in February they were shouting "Down with autocracy!"
Something similar happened quite recently in Ukraine. In this case, the role of an object for channeling protest energy was chosen not by Nikolay Romanov, but by Viktor Yanukovych. It should be said that this was a really worthless president. Not to mention the fact that thievish and self-satisfied. By and large, he was not loved either in the east of Ukraine or in the west. The East woke up a bit when semi-literate Bandera thugs descended from the Carpathian Mountains appeared on the Independence Square instead of Kiev intellectuals.
"SP": - Is it possible in Russia to repeat a similar trick?
- I would not be deceived about our stability. The results of the given opinion poll more or less reflect reality. But this is today's reality, the situation may change dramatically in a month or two. I'm not talking about the year. One of the weak points of the ruling team is the topic of Novorossia, in relation to which the Kremlin occupies a completely vague position. This causes discontent on the part of a huge number of people. Starting from patriotic citizens, ending with refugees who have nowhere to return, taxpayers (at whose expense they have to feed the refugees) and militia that fought. They just "stuck a knife in the back." All of these groups can be used by the payers of the “Maidan” coup.
The second scenario is associated with the activation of the Islamists in the Central Asian states. Under the guise of migrant workers, they will penetrate into our territory. Not to mention the fact that in one Syria several thousand immigrants from the Russian Federation are fighting, who were ideologically processed in Salafi schools. These guys will be here as soon as conflicts on an interethnic basis begin with their transformation into interfaith, which is generally terrible.
"SP": - What is the importance of the economic factor?
- In the event of a sharp deterioration in the economy, which will be quite easy to organize, the mass dismissal of our guest workers will begin. I very much doubt that they will go back to Tajikistan. Caught with no business, many of them will replenish criminal gangs. Summarizing: the revolutionary situation in Russia can be organized literally within a few months. The logic is simple - to create a mess, and then blame Putin personally for him, which will allow a group of elites to accomplish a apical coup. Say, it is necessary to get rid of the "guarantor", and everything will be fine.
But well, of course, will not, and will only get worse. Everything finally goes downhill. No matter how you treat Putin, but today it is the only center of consolidation in Russia, which is really bad. Because when the center is one, the interested parties are automatically tempted to put it somewhere. If there is a solid team, a strong successor, then there is no point in hunting for one person. That is why, frankly, I worry about the president.
Again, I am a pessimist and I think that the next Smoot in Russia can be easily organized. Moreover, the events in Ukraine are a prelude to an attempt to rock the Russian state boat. Understand, in itself "Square" is not needed by anyone. “Svidomye” guys, who were forced to sharply dislike “Muscovites”, do not understand that the West perceives them as a geopolitical “cannon fodder” on the fronts of the war with Russia. Nobody will ever accept into the civilized western community of savages from Maidan. They are needed only to fight with us - in Ukraine, a hotbed of instability is created with subsequent transfer to the territory of the Russian Federation.
"SP": - Putin, apparently, is aware of such a danger and is trying to hold a so-called. “Nationalization of elites”, but it does this somehow inconsistently and carefully.
- In this half-heartedness there is a big danger - counter-elites are irritated, retaining their poisonous teeth. The “fifth column” was slightly battered, not completely destroyed. Putin’s decisive policy, which brought him a high rating, began after Washington drew up the Magnitsky list. It could include anyone from the closest and not so close to the president. It was a typical blackmail of the Russian elites - turn in Putin and you will be left alone. Another version of blackmail — if you don’t want to be a person on the list — help remove Putin. By the way, such goal setting was officially announced (!). When our president was faced with a choice of "or-or", he began to fight comprador groups in the elite.
However, now Vladimir Putin, having taken a number of strong steps, began to slip. What causes the desire to sit on two chairs on the principle of "and ours, and yours," without making any sudden movements, we see the example of Yanukovych. Sooner or later, the president will have to make the final choice, as long as it is not too late. It is clear that it is difficult for a person who worked in the team of the great liberal Comrade Sobchak to break with those who brought him to Moscow in due time. Putin has moved away from this group, but he is in no hurry to finally break up and play all-in.
For example, Stalin did not care what people think of him in Europe or the Soviet nomenclature. He enjoyed sufficient support among the broad strata, which made him inviolable. But this must be resolved. I am not an adviser to Putin in this regard - such a choice is made once and then you have to go all the way. Understanding that there will be a huge number of people willing to destroy it. But if Putin takes such a step, he will receive colossal popular support. He now needs to create social support structures. This is something that he has not and never has. Stop hoping for the alleged “consensus of elites” who will surrender the president at the first opportunity. Again, remember Ukraine. Why did Maidan win here? Because Americans spent their $ 5 billion not on bribing oligarchs, but on working with grass-roots non-profit organizations that were created for Western grants in large quantities.
It was there that they recruited people who were dependent on them. While the Kremlin worked with oligarchs - with Kolomoisky, Akhmetov, hoping to buy their loyalty in exchange for cheap gas. The Americans didn’t bother with this, realizing that the money of the Ukrainian nouveau riche still lay in the West. As a result of the “anti-oligarchic” revolution organized by the USA, not one oligarch suffered in Ukraine. Except for Mr. Yanukovich.