Monday, December 11, 2023

Discontent Rises in Russia

Public opinion has a way of being heard, even in very top-down, autocratic systems. RealClearDefense reports on an interesting way this happens in today’s Russia. 

People who have problems with the government write a letter to President Putin with their concerns. An office in the Kremlin reads and tallies them, they get forwarded to the relevant government bureaus, and the totals get reported in the otherwise highly regulated news.

The article says many are writing about how badly their menfolk are being treated while soldiering in Ukraine. Slow or no pay, bad food, lack of leave, poor medical treatment, trouble getting prostheses for missing limbs are just some of the problems. The numbers of these letters are up dramatically. 

We shouldn’t be surprised about the discontent. What has evolved in the stalemated Ukraine war is much like WW I trench warfare, ugly on its best balmy spring day, terrible in bitter winter’s mud and snow. 

What is surprising is that the regime pays attention to complaints, doesn’t send the latter-day Cheka out to terrorize the senders, and most surprising of all, reports the number of complaints for all to see.