SKOBOV: “Between the sledgehammer and the anvil”

Neither group of "Putin's elite" is pitied

“If Hitler had invaded Hell, I would consider it my duty at least to speak favorably of Satan in the House of Commons,” Churchill said in 1941. “If Girkin went to storm Putin’s Kremlin, I would consider it my duty at least to publish a favorable column about him in a liberal publication”, – I said a few years ago.

History is unpredictable in terms of personalities. Today it is not Girkin who is bidding for this role, but Prigozhin. And liberal resources that have moved abroad publish portraits of him with the playful caption “If not Putin, then who?”. This phrase has been uttered as a joke by liberals for years. The prospect of replacing Putin with anyone else did not seem real. Today this phrase sounds different. There is a real existential horror behind it.

On the other hand, scaring the liberals with the arrival of absolutely rabid fascists instead of Putin has always been not unsuccessful game of the Kremlin. Liberals were willing to fall for this hoax because they didn’t want to see that Putin was just as much of a rabid fascist, only far more dangerous than the “rabid” ones. The danger lurked in the illusion that he was different. It is this illusion that allowed the notorious “Putin majority” to form, uniting the rabid fascists with the masses of moderate conservative middle class citizens.

After February 24th, will there be any liberal followers who will still say that there can be someone scarier than Putin? Alas, there will be some. All those who keep hoping that a certain “honorary draw” will be negotiated with Putin. Because to admit that it is impossible to reach an agreement with Putin is nothing more than to say, “Prigozhin is better than Putin”.

Prigozhin’s latest speeches are a statement saying that it will be possible to come to an agreement with him. And not even an “honorary draw”, but an “honorary surrender. With the recognition of the “prodigal” and withdrawal from the seized territories. The future Mishustin-Sobyanin government, widely discussed by liberal experts, will cling to this illusory “honorary draw” until the end. Because this will be a government of escape from responsibility of the ruling elite as a whole. And it will be swept away under the slogan “They must answer!”.

It is quite possible that behind Prigozhin is some group within the ruling elite, preparing for the coming “redistribution” and seeking to shift the responsibility for future defeat onto another part of this elite. And of course, they will be looking for “enemies of the people” for a show of public reprisal. None of the groups of “Putin’s elite” feels sorry for them. They are all involved in unleashing and waging this war. They all have the blood of hundreds of thousands of people on them.

And least of all, we pity the part of the “Putin’s elite” with which many liberals continue to feel a certain socio-cultural commonality. Enlightened technocrats. Bourgeois specialists. I am not going to list their names. You already know them all. They could have broken Putin’s economic machine and thus stopped the military machine of mass murder at the very beginning of the war, collectively breaking with the regime. They didn’t do it, afraid of falling out of a high-rise window the day after they resigned. Let them now get the Front Porch as a reward.

Likewise, we do not pity the part of the “cultural elite” that became ideological servants of the war. Feeling that they will be asked, this part of them cries out through Bogomolov’s mouth: “Those who didn’t accept the war are even worse than we are. They always wanted to sit comfortably on two chairs”. But in Prigozhin’s escapades one can already clearly discern: “It was you, not the defeatist liberals, who led us astray. We’re simple guys. We listen to what pop idols and actors from TV tell us. So now you have to take responsibility for what you say”.

Those who encroached on the international legal order, tried to legitimize the aggression and annexation, and brought the world to the brink of a nuclear war, must answer for that. And if not in the European-standard cells in The Hague prison, then on the Place of the Public in Moscow.

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