International peace talks on Russia-Ukraine conflict are underway. However, there are no signs of a halt to Russian operations in Ukraine.
However, Ukrainian sociologist Volodymyr Ishchenko, who has been monitoring various post-Soviet revolutions, disagrees with observers. “I don’t think a revolution in Russia (anti-Putin) is inevitable as a result of sanctions,” he told Al Jazeera. His argument is that the growing misery is not enough for a revolution to take place.
Rather, Ishchenka thinks that the revolution requires division among the elites, unity among the opponents, coordination and integration of infrastructure.
In the early 20th century, the Russian Empire faced two revolutions. And that was the involvement with the two unpopular wars. A revolution took place in 1904–1905, followed by a humiliating defeat in the Russo-Japanese War of 1905. The other was during the First World War in 1918.
Some of the newly independent republics also went through popular coups after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The coup toppled governments in Georgia, Armenia and Moldova. There have been three revolutions in Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine.
Putin has been the so-called ‘color revolution’ for the last two decades; For example, in 2004 he spent time preparing for the “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine. His idea was that the revolution was planned by Washington.
Putting Russian opposition leaders, such as Alexei Navalny, a staunch critic of the Kremlin, was part of Putin’s preparations. Navalny is now in jail. His political party has been banned. However, his political movement is active and is currently helping to organize protests in Russia.
“The (Putin) opposition is not in a good position right now,” Ishchenko said. Navalny’s anti-government movement is cornered. Opposition groups called for a cease-fire in Ukraine. At present, communists and many other parties can join the opposition, which strongly supports this war.
Ishchenko told Al Jazeera that more than 200,000 Russians have fled the country since February; Those are basically anti-war. This has reduced the likelihood of large-scale protests in Russia.
In such a context, in order to build a strong movement in Russia, it will be necessary for the opposition to maintain effective contact with the country. But it can be difficult. This is because now there are various restrictions on travel to Russia and no Russian citizen can use social media without a VPN.
As a result, the sociologist thinks that a coup d’etat (conflict within the ruling party) may now be an alternative to a revolution against the Putin government. However, he acknowledged that their numbers were not enough to defeat Putin’s government.
“So at the end of the day, the balance of power in the Ukraine war (on both sides) will determine whether there is a possible coup or revolution against Putin or whether the Putin government will survive and consolidate its power,” Ishchenko said.