Senior Russian Opposition Politician: Our Public Opinion Can Halt The War

Russian opposition party Yabloko senior politician Lev Schlosberg.
Russian opposition party Yabloko senior politician Lev Schlosberg. (Archive)

Russian opposition party Yabloko's senior politician, Mr. Lev Schlosberg, stated that Putin's regime is ready for the destruction of dissidents.

On Saturday, Putin’s regime has accused of discrediting the Russian Armed Forces. one of the leaders of the Russian opposition party Yabloko Mr. Lev Schlosberg, and his wife.

The reason was his statements against the Russian war over Ukraine. Mr. Schlosberg publicly, in the interviews and articles, demanded from Kremlin to stop shooting and killing people.

So far, the regime has opened an administrative case, but the politician does not exclude that the persecution may evolve into criminal charges.

Mr. Schlosberg, who is also chairman of the Yabloko party's chapter in Pskov, a Russian military city, spoke about the mood of the inhabitants and the general atmosphere in Russian society after Mr. Putin gave the order to attack Ukraine.

The regime is ready for the destruction of dissidents, he recently said in an interview with Radio Svoboda.

TheOwner publishes the excerpts from that interview which illustrate how experienced Russian opposition politician perceives and assesses the current situation of the dissidents who oppose war against Ukraine.

You communicate with a variety of people: voters, politicians. What one can tell about the mood of people in Pskov?

I communicate not only in Pskov. I communicate with people in the Pskov region and outside the region. For the vast majority of people, everything that is happening now has become suddenly, absolutely suddenly. They did not expect such events. But people perceive it differently.
Some people perceive this as a long-awaited embodiment of unconscious desires, that is, they did not think that this could happen, but they like what is happening now. It corresponds to their internal needs for violence, aggression, and the suppression of dissent. Unfortunately, such people exist. There are not many of them, actually, but they are very noisy. They enjoy the support of the authorities, and they are now on a crest of public influence.
Some people are confused - there are a lot of these people. I even assume that these people are now the majority in our country. They do not understand how to live in a new situation. It looks like nothing has changed on the outside. The same streets, the same people, the same shops, the same life, the same work, but everything is different. And the awareness of reality comes to these people very slowly. And the vast majority of them are not political. And they do not have enough understanding of the situation to realise what is happening.

It looks like nothing has changed on the outside. The same streets, the same people, the same shops, the same life, the same work, but everything is different.

And finally, some people who share our values are deeply shocked, indignant, and ready to speak out, including in the form of public actions. But the law does not allow speaking out. We live in a wartime situation without martial law. It is a kind of revealing situation when martial law is adopted without the imposition of martial law. It is hard to get used to this reality. It is almost impossible to adapt to it because it is never possible to guess which words you say can be fatal.

In Pskov - a military city - can you count on anti-war sentiments?

Of course, yes. Nobody likes when people die. Some maniacs like the very process of destroying people. But this, as they say, is a separate article of the Criminal Code, including the current Russian criminal law. For the vast majority of people, death is unnatural and unacceptable.

Until recently, almost no one understood and did not want to understand the terrible reality. People refused to believe it was coming.

But another matter is to cheer, so to speak, "for your own". If one's friends, acquaintances, relatives, husbands, and sons went to war, then one is concerned about them. Thus, naturally, one supports them. Or not?

No, it's unnatural. I am convinced that this is unnatural. There is a terrible effect - this is the effect of blood contagion. Bloodshed is contagious. The consequence of all violence is that one blood gives birth to another blood. It is one of the most dangerous effects of large-scale military actions. It revives the tradition of a blood feud. It subscribes to the cave tradition of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. These mechanisms trigger any mass violence, whether it is associated with military operations or associated with political violence. Revenge is one of the most destructive feelings. And this is another way of suicide, including the suicide of the nation.

No official confirmation exists, but according to some rumours, dozens or even hundreds of contract soldiers in Pskov refuse to go to the front. Do you have such information?

We can not talk about this publicly after Putin’s decree appeared in 2015 on classifying military casualties in peacetime, including casualties during the special military operations. And any information about the movement, including the refusal actions of military personnel, has become limited. Regardless of who knows what, no one will comment publicly right now. In the same way, lawyers who provide legal assistance to people who refuse to participate in a special military operation do not comment publicly because they cannot do it, it is dangerous. The situation has changed radically.

In 2014, you took the same anti-war position. But then it was possible to express your opinion freely. You spoke openly about the annexation of Crimea. Today, any attempt to express disagreement with what is happening is suppressed. And it has only been eight years since that time.

What is happening now was being prepared during these eight years. It was prepared carefully and systematically planned. Until recently, almost no one understood and did not want to understand. People refused to believe in the terrible reality. In 2014, the system made a fundamental choice but was not ready for total cleansing of society, for a purge of the opposition. The system was ready to bully and suppress. But it has not been yet prepared for the destruction of dissidents. Now the system is ready to destroy dissidents.

To physical destruction?

By any means.

What can stop the war, in your opinion?

Public opinion.


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