Staunton, April 3 – The vote for Brexit, the victory of Donald Trump, and the success of the Navalny demonstrations are “the result of one and the same mistakes of the authorities intheir communications with the population” and “a fall-off in trust in political institutions” as well as “the growth of opposition movements ‘without a positive agenda,’ Minchenko Consulting says
In a 13-page report released yesterday (minchenko.ru/analitika/analitika_68.htmlrbc.ru/politics/03/04/2017/58de4d6d9a7947f6ac645050), the Moscow analytic center says that as a result of this combination, there are real risks that the liberal-democratic and left-wing protests could come together as a serious force.
That coming together has not yet happened and may never happen, especially since Aleksey Navalny has some serious political baggage, but the authorities have made things worse for themselves by failing to demonstrate discipline in analyzing and responding in public to events like the March 26 protests.
Russian commentators on the report say “the main guarantor” of the stability of the Putin regime is the high ratings of the Kremlin leader, but there are three reasons why that may not be as eternal as many think: the impact of the Crimean Anschluss is declining, economic problems are mounting, and two problems raised by the massive quality of the protests themselves.
On the one hand, they continue, many Russians thought and had been encouraged to think by Putin’s team that the era of demonstrations has passed; and on the other, there is a growing fear among young people that “they not only were born under Putin but will die under Putin as well.”
All this means, the Minchenko experts say, that it is critically important for the Putin team to come up with attractive content for his 2018 election campaign, something they imply that group has so far failed to do and to ensure that the messages of the authorities are thoughtful and coordinated rather than in conflict.