By Paul Goble
Many in Russia and the West assume that opposition in Russia to Putin’s war in Ukraine and opposition to the Kremlin leader are one and the same thing, Stanislav Belkovsky says; but in fact, many who are against the war are nonetheless supportive of its author.
That is because many who oppose the war either on ethical grounds or because it is costing them money nonetheless owe their positions to Putin and fear that his ouster would lead them to lose their status and wealth, the Russian commentator says. They thus are very different than those who oppose the war and want Putin out (newtimes.ru/articles/detail/212847).
(Belkovsky does not here discuss the possibility that there may be some who support the war but want Putin out either for reasons unconnected with the conflict or because they do not feel that he is conducting the war in an effective manner. Someone else, such people likely think could do a better job than the aging Russian leader.)
Belkovsky’s observation is important to keep in mind because all too many in Russia and in the West lump all the opposition together in one group, forgetting that divisions within the opposition are important and that they mean no one part of it is large or powerful enough to represent a threat to Putin or his policies.