Posted 31 марта 07:37

Published 31 марта 07:37

Modified 31 марта 08:30

Updated 31 марта 08:30

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Not indifferent, but dangerous: The Network discusses a new wave of denunciations

31 марта 2023, 07:37
According to analysts, the number of informers in Russia is small, but they pose a serious threat to others and to the state itself.

Ivan Zubov

Novye Izvestia has devoted more than one material to the wave of denunciation that has covered the country in the last year.

However, this process not only does not subside, but becomes more widespread. According to experts interviewed by the British edition of the Financial Times, applications to the authorities for expressing dissent in private or indoors are filed against people all over the country. Teachers report students, students report teachers and classmates, neighbors, colleagues and even family members have filed complaints. This practice is quickly becoming commonplace, which is facilitated by the calls of propagandists to hunt for "internal traitors" and "saboteurs".

For example, on Thursday, March 30, the Timiryazevsky court of Moscow sentenced 62-year-old pensioner Simonov to 7 years in prison for two comments on the VKontakte social network. He was detained on the denunciation of a certain Anna Gel, who saw the man's comments in the news feed and immediately called the police. She stated that she "does not like" when people publish posts "against the government and the state."

And before that, a disabled St. Petersburg resident Belousov was given 5.5 years for "fakes" about the army on the denunciation of a friend. Moreover, the prosecutor's office insisted on a much longer term – 9.5 years. And the informer himself said after the sentencing that he was "sorry, because he only wanted a suspended sentence, no more".

All this only generates "total mutual suspicion, total distrust", - experts say. Their return marks the awakening of "totalitarian instincts" in Russian society. "People are starting to behave exactly the same as in the Stalin era".

By encouraging whistleblowing, the state is playing with fire

It is also interesting that since most of the public critics of the regime are now silent or in exile, denunciations allow the state to identify "small private dissidents".


Russian sociologists discuss the motives of informers. Some point to self-interest: denouncing someone can give an opportunity for social advancement, especially for those who are on the sidelines of society. But often it doesn't do any good at all…

Analysts of the popular channel "Pskov news feed" are wondering:

"Where did these "caring citizens" come from, from which dusty mezzanine were they pulled out? After all, they had not been there for 30 years, and the cult of contempt for informers was being planted quite confidently in the country. It is unlikely that all the current ones are well-preserved informers from Soviet times. This means that a part of society gets a certain, perhaps, physical pleasure from denouncing a neighbor. Obviously, this is a consequence of the unsettled state of one's own life, the desire to get even for one's failures at the cost of creating problems for an outsider, frankly speaking, an innocent person. It is important to understand that "concerned citizens" are no doubt aware that their signal will be accepted into work, and the victim will not get off with an oral warning. I.e., there is also absolute cruelty in the database.The state in this story is going with the flow, it is still profitable for it to encourage such "civic indifference".

But this is a vicious circle, very quickly a wave of denunciations will spread from ordinary mortals to those in power. Well, there is an example from Soviet history, you don't have to go far..."

The main thing for the informer is to save the country!

However, political scientist Alexey Makarkin, who studies this socio-political problem, believes that the practice of denunciations has never completely disappeared in Russia:


"They always wrote, even in the 90s - only then they were usually ignored. In Soviet times, they denounced "anti-Soviets" and "enemies of the people." When the GKCHP was defeated, informers immediately informed about "enemies of democracy" and "accomplices of the putschists." Now — about "enemies of the state" and "foreign agents". So it's not just about the system, but also about psychology..."

And here's what else is curious according to Makarkin.

For many years, the Russian media and social networks have been quoting Sergei Dovlatov's phrase about the sacramental "4 million denunciations" written during the most terrible years of Stalin's repressions, which has not yet been confirmed by anyone. Even if this figure is correct, it is worth noting, writes Makarkin, that according to the 1937 census, 162 million people lived in the USSR, and besides, "professional" informers probably wrote much more than one denunciation...

So, fortunately, not all society is ready to support this practice. Makarkin believes that in fact, there are also few informers in modern Russia. However, there is one important feature here, clearly discernible since the 2000s:

"Then, approximately simultaneously with the moral rehabilitation of Stalin and Beria, a new justification for denunciations appeared. It was a consequence of post-Soviet frustration. If in the post-Stalin era the arguments that the "enemies of the people" were conspirators who planned to overthrow the Soviet government and give Ukraine to the adversaries were perceived as frankly ridiculous (like digging a tunnel from Bombay to London), then after the collapse of the USSR the popularity of "conspiracy theories" increased dramatically. And the further, the more. In 1992, according to a VTsIOM survey, only 18% of respondents considered the course pursued by Gorbachev, Shevardnadze and Yakovlev to be the main reason for the collapse of the USSR. In 2012, this answer was already given by 45%...."Commenting on these figures, the analyst draws the following conclusion from them.

By analogy with the fact that the conspirators managed to destroy the country in 1991, it could have been the same in the 1930s, but since this did not happen, the denunciations were justified! That's why it was necessary in the late USSR to inform on Gorbachev, Yeltsin, and Yakovlev and Shevardnadze in order to prevent the collapse of the country! "Thus, denunciations were morally justified in the "patriotic" subculture long before our days...", - concludes Makarkin.