Many people take the emotional but incorrect statements that Putin is a tyrant and a dictator seriously. They imagine some sort of a Stalinist system in Russia. But none of this is true.
As we saw earlier today, the Russian journalist who protested on national TV was fined $280. I’m guessing the fine would be higher if she disrupted a government broadcast in the US. It’s really not that big of a punishment.
None of the protesters in Russia face death. There’s no GULAG. Even Navalny (who is in jail on corruption charges) never claimed that anybody beat or tortured him. He’s tweeting up a storm daily.
The level of government coercion and restrictions on free speech in Russia is somewhere at the level of Canada during the trucker protest. Unpleasant, undemocratic, deplorable but not remotely Stalinesque. There are no firing squads, no labor camps, no mass graves – or any graves – of dissidents.
The reason so few Russians protest isn’t because they are terrorized. It’s because, at best, they have no objections. And at worst, they are very happy with what’s happening. If that sounds difficult to believe, remember what we’ve all seen in the past 2 years. Remember people massively embracing the clearly insane idea of “social distancing”? Took under a week for this particular mass psychosis to take hold. No GULAG necessary. No Papa Doc Duvalier sending his goons to terrorize anybody. Imagine what could be done in 20 years. In 30. In 40.
People like to trust authority. Not everybody but the majority does. And they especially like to trust authority when it tells them flattering things. No terror necessary.