Monday, March 23, 2015

Russian Elites but Not Russian People, Ready to Capitulate to the West, Kagarlitsky Says | Johnson's Russia List

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 17, 2015)

The West does not understand Russia, but it does understand very well indeed Russia’s elites; and as a result, it has seriously miscalculated in its dealings with Moscow about Ukraine, according to Boris Kagarlitsky, who argues the elites are ready to capitulate in the face of sanctions but the Russian people never will be.

In fact, the Moscow analyst says, while increasing sanctions may increase the willingness of Russian elites to find compromises, they “not only will not frighten the population of Russia but on the contrary will push” all other Russians in the opposite direction and make them more anti-Western and anti-elite as well (

Although the West and the elites assume the population will always be passive, in fact, that is not the case, and popular anger at anything that ordinary Russians view as a capitulation will be something the Kremlin will have to take into account. Indeed, Kagarlitsky says, this divide between elites and masses will form the core of Russian politics in the months ahead.

The Presidential Administration understands this, he says, but the government and even more the Russian liberal elites on whose views the West relies do not. And consequently, the West’s own actions instead of pushing Moscow in the direction it hopes for are in fact pushing the regime in very different ones.

And he argues that in this conflict, Moscow’s liberal intelligentsia will find itself in an ever weaker position because its support of the West on Ukraine means that it “has isolated itself from society and even from those of its strata which a year or two ago were ready to listen to its arguments.”

Complete story at - Russian Elites but Not Russian People, Ready to Capitulate to the West, Kagarlitsky Says | Johnson's Russia List

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