-1

It seems to be a widespread opinion supported by polls that Russian population endorses Putin's regime in general and invasion of Ukraine in particular. Russian citizens are blamed for this in the media and are severely discriminated against - they are sanctioned and heavily punished by both Russian and Western authorities. Any opposition is oppressed in Russia which is perfectly normal for an authoritarian state. And any refugees are not welcome which is perfectly normal for the western countries.

So my question is - what is a hypothetical Russian, who woke up and decided that he doesn't support the war or the Putin's regime anymore (or never did actually) is to do about it?

I am thinking.. If he protests, he will eventually be jailed. If he flees the country... he won't get the same amount of support and empathy as if he were Ukrainian.

I can't think of any other options.

4
  • I truly don't think you should ask us. Or take any of our advice. We, at least those of us living in free societies, are not at risk from political activities against a sitting government. So, things like "well, it was done even in Nazi regimes" are glib - plenty of people got executed in Nazi Germany. Emigrating aside, we should not, in good conscience, tell you to run those types of risks, from our own safety. That is only for you to decide. But I admire you being a moral person. Plus this is an opinion based question which we dont take here. +1, but vote close. Welcome aboard. Oct 13, 2023 at 18:40
  • The fact that the Western nations (we, us, obviously not us) impose some kind of "disciplinary measures" on the citizens of another nation may require some explaining. Since it is not that obvious what do they mean and how are they supposed to re-act given that huge cultural differences.
    – troyan
    Oct 13, 2023 at 20:38
  • 2
    I've voted to close. There is no answer, only a potential discussion. While it may be difficult to accept, the simple fact is that there may be nothing that can be done that is both effective and low risk. I concur with IP4M. I would just note there was one well known Russian who did find he disagreed with the authoritarian government. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. There is always that option.
    – James K
    Oct 14, 2023 at 16:24

4 Answers 4

5

he won't get the same amount of support and empathy as if he were Ukrainian

Maybe not the same, but there are still countries where a Russian could apply for political asylum, if that's what you're asking. E.g.

From Oct. 2022 through May, 92 Russians have had their asylum claims heard in New York state courts. Only three have been denied.

1
  • There's more in-depth data on that here, if anyone is curious. Generally speaking the US and the UK granted a higher percentage of requests from Russians than France or Germany did Oct 13, 2023 at 13:28
3

There are many ways to protest or fight authoritarian regime, starting with emigration and peaceful demonstrations and going all the way to espionage and sabotage. And yes, none of these are "safe" or "free" for protester. But this applies pretty much to all political activity all around the world. You want to change something - you have to pay for it.

If we look at historical examples, you'll see that people were fighting government even in Nazi-controlled countries. And Germany was a lot more oppressive regime that easily killed its opponents unlike Russia. Many died in this fight, but this did not stop Resistance movements. You use methods of protest that are available, not complain that those methods are not easy enough for you.

What are you probably trying to say is that it's unfair to discriminate Russian people that decided that it was too difficult / unsafe to protest. So your question should've been better formulated as "what Russian can safely do to avoid being discriminated in foreign countries for Putin's crimes". And the answer is simple: nothing. Foreign countries have no obligations to help you in any way. An ability to travel to or trade with another country is not a right but a privilege. And this privilege is generally granted to you by actions of YOUR country. You want more privileges - you work to improve your country.

If you were born, say, in Afghanistan, then it will be very difficult for you to travel abroad. Most likely you simply won't have any money for this. Is it fair? Probably not. Should people of foreign countries give you money and open their borders so you can travel with same ease as citizen of US? I don't think so. Instead you work hard to improve Afghanistan and one day in future it's a rich country with plenty of visa-free travel agreements. That amount of privileges (and associated costs) is essentially what "citizenship" is about. The only alternative to improving your own country is to became citizen of another country by making citizens of that country to accept you in their society.

1
  • I understand that emigration would be the best choice, protest would not do anything other that formal proof of prosecution if issued with paperwork, and "to work hard to improve life in Russia" - that depends on what is considered an improvement - getting yourself in troubles, breaking the laws can hardly qualify
    – troyan
    Oct 13, 2023 at 13:27
1

Naturally, you need a good presidential candidate, with competitive political programme, who is able to muster enough votes to win the presidential election, and at the same time you need sufficient support in the Russian elites / deep state to get listed in the ballot. Then you do a good presidential campaign and win elections in a landslide.

This does happen to be very hard to the point of being improbable, but I would say that it is on par with breaking Democrat-Republican duopoly in the US to get a third party in (then you can have POTUS who will no longer get USA in more wars). This also was done in the past. We know authoritarian regimes who ended when they lost the elections by a landslide.

The current generation of Russia opposition is clearly incapable of that feat (and a large chunk of them actually ended up Israeli nationalists instead), so for a single dissident it goes along the lines of not a fighter when in a field alone and no legs means no cartoons.

11
  • We know authoritarian regimes who ended when they lost the elections by a landslide. - well I never heard of those. If this is improbable, then it is not an option
    – troyan
    Oct 13, 2023 at 13:31
  • You basically want to come in power of a country. This is highly improbable in any circumstances because there's either a lot of deterrence or a lot of competition.
    – alamar
    Oct 13, 2023 at 13:34
  • In my opinion Putin was put in, and he would never have been elected or even noticed on his own merits by the population of Russia
    – troyan
    Oct 13, 2023 at 13:51
  • Putin was put in by deep state/elites in 1999. Not impossible to repeat if you can convince the right people. They'd be very reluctant at first, though. There should be good reasons for viewing your candidate as legitimate.
    – alamar
    Oct 13, 2023 at 13:53
  • 1
    If there was such a, competitive, Russian opposition, would they be allowed to run and contest fair elections by the current government? Oct 13, 2023 at 18:35
-6

what is a hypothetical Russian, who woke up and decided that he doesn't support the war or the Putin's regime anymore (or never did actually) is to do about it?

When a criminal gets jailed, what is he supposed to do about it? He wakes up one day in his cell and decides that he never wanted to commit the crime he is in for. Only it is too late now.

The "crime" your hypothetical Russian is "in" for is that he didn't do anything (or enough) to stop the evidently looming regime years ago when it was still possible. Neither he made timely effort to emigrate decently — to become someone who can be valued and can comfortably settle abroad. Instead, he just went along, hoped that everything will be alright without any effort and closed his eyes to the obvious direction his country was rolling down to. He is paying for it now.

14
  • @Greendake The "crime" your hypothetical Russian is "in" for is that he didn't do anything (or enough) to stop the evidently looming regime years ago when it was still possible. - When was exactly this time? what could he have done back then? Is it now a crime not to make effort to emigrate - there must be a regulation that prescribes him to do so. Could you provide evidence?
    – troyan
    Oct 13, 2023 at 11:34
  • 4
    If your hypothetical Russian is still a teenager what could they have done years ago?
    – Joe W
    Oct 13, 2023 at 12:42
  • 1
    Your answer states that the hypothetical Russian didn't do enough to stop it and it isn't always possible for that hypothetical Russian to have done anything for various reasons. It isn't good to judge them for not stopping something that had no ability to even try to stop.
    – Joe W
    Oct 13, 2023 at 13:16
  • 1
    Again, not all of the people who oppose the actions of Putin are able to do anything about it and you should not be putting any blame on them.
    – Joe W
    Oct 13, 2023 at 13:44
  • 1
    You don't seem to be listening to what I am saying which was it is not always possible for them to have done something at any point in time before this. And even if that was the case the blame still shouldn't be on them alone.
    – Joe W
    Oct 13, 2023 at 14:54

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