Russia: no room for opponents of the war

In Russia an apparatus of repression and propaganda has been established which is silencing the opposition - primarily to the war in Ukraine - and making the population submissive and disinterested. Now tougher laws on media control and 'foreign agents' have been introduced. What does this mean for dissent?

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Novaya Gazeta Europe (RU) /

Even inverted commas are a crime

Opposition politician Boris Vishnevsky sums up a legal situation in Novaya Gazeta Europa that has nothing to do with justice:

“Anyone the state points to can become the object of repression - and defending oneself is generally pointless. This is illustrated by the use of repressive laws to combat everything from 'discrediting' words, 'fakes' and 'undesirable organisations' to 'extremist symbolism' and 'treason'. Absolutely anything can be declared to be 'discrediting the armed forces'. Even, as recently happened in a court in Nischni Novgorod, the use of inverted commas around the word 'special operation'. Thus it is even punishable to express one's attitude to an event 'by orthographic means'.”

The New Times (RU) /

A nation drowning in darkness

The New Times cites a popular Facebook post by the actor Anatoli Beli, which explains why, after experiencing so many hostilities in response to his early protests against the war he has given up and left Moscow to go abroad:

“You can call me browbeaten. I think we have lost this battle. We, that is culture and all those who held out hope for a democratic future for their country. There are very few of us. It is easy to blow us off the face of the earth and out of history. Russia doesn't need us, which is a terrible shame. Yet there are so many wonderful and beautiful people here. But there is so much more darkness. That is the bitter pill that we must swallow. The resounding word for me in these dark times is: disappointment.”

The Irish Times (IE) /

Adaptating instead of rebelling

The hope that the Russian population would revolt against Putin in reaction to the war in Ukraine was naive, The Irish Times believes:

“Most Russians accept the war against Ukraine. Many of us in the West are quick to deny this fact - which is because we simply don't want to admit it. In such an authoritarian regime, it is often easier to conform to the system than to seek out change in that system. The resulting feelings of helplessness and subordination feed on themselves while reinforcing narratives of isolation. Behaving correctly and blending into the crowd may be the best of many unpleasant options.”