Posted 28 марта, 08:48

Published 28 марта, 08:48

Modified 28 марта, 11:59

Updated 28 марта, 11:59

Fading interest in Politics and Geopolitics: Something about Internal Emigration in Russia

Fading interest in Politics and Geopolitics: Something about Internal Emigration in Russia

28 марта 2023, 08:48
Дмитрий Михайличенко
About 5-7% of Russian citizens, who a few years ago were ready to engage in politics and show civic activity, have now gone into "internal emigration".

Dmitry Mikhailichenko, Analyst, Doctor of Philosophy

The beginning of the SMO and the partial mobilization led to a significant outflow of citizens from the country.

However, now it has, in fact, stopped, and there are even signs of the return of a significant part of those who left. It is significant that propaganda has stopped informational and psychological attacks on those who have left.

The sociology of disagreement with what is happening (in the broad sense of the word) is characterized by about 20-25%: these are those who believe that the situation in the country is moving along the wrong path. Not all of them are politicized, but many are potentially part of the phenomenon of internal emigration.

The term "internal emigration" in 2023 in Russia characterizes the thinking and social behavior of Russians who are not ready to absorb the patterns of the national political culture, as well as to express their public attitude to the political course of the country's leadership in internal disagreement with it.

An apolitical "swamp" is characterized by at least 50-60% of the country's population, but this is not pure internal emigration. In democratic countries with a rotating government, there are more opportunities for interest in politics, but there is also an apolitical majority. The term "internal emigration" should be applied specifically to those who were engaged/ ready to engage in politics and show civic activity a few years ago, but now they will not do this. Internal emigration, I think, should include a small segment of 5-7% of citizens who were ready to engage in politics and actively express their position 3-5 years ago, but will not do so now.

Indicators of this phenomenon:

  1. Fading interest in politics in society. For the second year of its existence, the Russian society steadily reduces its attention to geopolitics and politics. This is also felt by the segment of political Telegram channels, which is gradually showing signs of an outflow of the audience. Society does not feel like a beneficiary of the political process, believes that it cannot do anything (or believes that everything is going right) and, as a result, there is a distancing from politics. This can also be seen in the regional branches of parliamentary and non-parliamentary parties, which have been actively getting rid of their protest and counter-elite (on a regional scale) assets over the past year.
  2. Reduction of civic activity in social networks. Many pro-government actors have left the extremist Facebook network recognized in Russia, and the general attention to political texts in it is decreasing: to a large extent, this platform is preserved for Russians who emigrated abroad. For those who preach internal emigration, it is not social networks that are important, but diaries. Representatives of the generation that passed the Stalin years would hardly have used social networks actively to express their position. And now many people prefer to refrain from political posts in social networks, especially critical ones. The work of censorship and self-censorship mechanisms is manifested, including in the discourse of political scientists in social networks and Telegram channels.
  3. Decrease in the activity of non-political civil organizations. We are talking about environmentalists and other activists. The current situation creates conditions when any form of civic engagement will be brought under control. For example, doctors are dissatisfied with salaries (as recently in the Vladimir region). The governor immediately declares that "someone's interest" is behind this, that is, doctors are just pawns, and the fact that they may be dissatisfied with their financial situation, the head of the region prefers "not to notice".

It's not the 1970s: the mobility of society is much higher than the times of the Brezhnev stagnation, but many do not want to leave and prefer internal emigration. For the state, this scenario is quite suitable for itself. This may be one of the facets of the new consensus of society and the authorities: "You sit quietly, fix the primus, but the "Big Brother" does not touch you." But this balance is shaky: circumstances of force majeure may intervene in the situation.

Especially for the "Kremlin Bezbashennik"