Although civil society is apathetic, some Russian radicals are ready to fight to the death

Although civil society is apathetic some Russian radicals are ready

Russia is a laboratory for the functioning of democracy and the risks of authoritarianism, says Jussi Lassila, senior researcher at the Institute for Foreign Policy.

Senior researcher at the Foreign Policy Institute Margarita Zavadskaya and another senior researcher from the same institute Jussi Lassila agree that Russia is both radicalizing and polarizing the president Vladimir Putin because of the administration and the war in Ukraine. The researchers discussed on Radio Suomen Päivä.

According to Lassila, Russia’s infrastructure is deteriorating, but the fires, for example, seem to have been set on purpose. According to Lassila, there are certainly signs of radicalization in Russia.

– Sabotages have occurred during the year to such an extent that it is very possible that parties closely connected to Ukraine and sympathetic to it and, above all, hostile to the power of President Vladimir Putin will carry out spontaneous attacks on various military and other targets, but the more concrete details of that are not yet known , Lassila ponders possible partisan attacks in Russia.

– The attention is great, but the number of radicalized people is small, notes Lassila. His perception is that civil society is still apathetic.

The reported cases are the tip of the iceberg

Senior researcher Margarita Zavadskaya, on the other hand, follows the activities of partisan groups and studies Russian civil society, and is preparing an article on internal opposition and violence in Russia.

According to Zavadskaya, it is difficult to get an overall picture of the activities of groups within Russia, because it is an illegal activity. According to the researcher, the groups are looking for ways to tell about themselves and their activities.

– The groups have carried out several attacks on Russian railways, including the Siberian railway and arson to the army’s call centers. These require planning and skills and are clearly organized, says Zavadskaya.

Cars of members of parliament, among others, have also been burned. These are probably the actions of individual activists. In total, according to Zavadskaya, tens, at most, hundreds of activists are involved.

The researcher estimates that the reported cases are only the tip of the iceberg, because Russia is still a closed society.

The groups don’t communicate with each other either. According to the civil society researcher, there are left-wing anarchists and extreme right-wing groups. The motive is common: we need to get rid of Putin.

– Political resistance has been found to be ineffective, sabotage works instead, Zavadskaya explains the logic of the perpetrators of the attacks.

Some of the groups are very dedicated and ready to fight to the death, says the researcher.

Despair and radicalization

According to Lassila, shootings in recruiting offices speak of desperation and individual radicalization.

– These are the inevitable consequences of war, which can be seen in society, he states. Blowing up railroad tracks requires more planning.

It is unclear how organized the resistance is. Lassila emphasizes that there are vulnerabilities in society that Putin’s opponents can attack if frustration and rage get to the point.

“Fighting for Ukraine as a Trojan horse inside Russia can be a springboard for the return of the death penalty,” Lassila predicts.

Zavadskaya, on the other hand, estimates that as the war drags on, the groups become radicalized and, at the same time, unorganized violence increases.