Staunton, August 9 – Now that the Kremlin’s pollster has said that Russians because of fears about the future are more inclined to say they change for the better than to be acceptant of stability at the current low standard of living (rosbalt.ru/posts/2017/08/08/1637054.html), the Kremlin is said to be considering four possible new “social contracts.”
Moscow commentator Yury Khristenzen says that the stability of Putin’s authoritarian regime has rested on a social contract between the population and the elites, one in which the population gives the regime loyalty in exchange for a rising standard of living, something the regime can no
longer guarantee (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5988C673022F3).
According to the commentator, there are indications that the Kremlin is currently discussing four new social contracts to replace the one that has more or less collapsed. They include:
o “Loyalty in exchange for security.” This one would be based on discovering a terrorist threat at home that only the current regime could address and contain.
o “Repressions in exchange for disloyalty.” Instead of a positive message, this one would suggest to the Russian population that the regime will punish the disloyal and therefore people should demonstrate loyalty to the Kremlin.
o “Loyalty in exchange for subsistence.” This accord would clearly seek to convince people that as bad as things are, they could be worse and that they should back the current regime as a lesser evil compared to any other.
o “Loyalty in exchange for political and economic freedoms.” According to Khristenzen, such an exchange would hardly be welcomed by elites but it might be extremely popular with the population at large.