Kirill Martynov had this to say about Russians’ active participation in the perpetuation of the system that governs their country:
The videos of ballot box stuffing are distinguished by some very typical, repetitive, and awful anthropology.
Poorly dressed, beaten down by life, full of women with their bodies blocking the camera. Somebody shouts, “let’s go, girls!” Another woman carries, hidden by her back and hips, stacks of paper. These people are fighting in order to live always as today, in the dirt, in theft and with mutual aggression. They want to convey this way of life for their children – “let’s go, girls”. And the dirty work to promote stability, just like the work of cleaners and nurses, is done by women.
As more time has passed, the more the question amazed me, what is the motivation here? Why do people go for it? Why not give up? How do they adapt to this system? Like the bleached-blonde prosecutors with their eye-shadow the same color as their uniforms, who require “girls” for reporting purposes? Again – “let’s go, girls”. But this story is not for me, but for Hannah Arendt.
The Russian people – and when I say this I mean… we are all part of it, this is not criticism, but self-criticism – and so the Russian people are similar to the customs officer-thief who robs the authorities, and who is trying to grab for himself what he can where he can in order to be a normal person.
At night he dreams that he is Vereshchagin, who did not leave the longboat [this is a reference to the 1970 film White Sun of the Desert. Vereshchagin is a hero who dies tragically when the boat he is on explodes.]. And he cries with self-pity, from the sensation of his simple grandeur of eternal righteousness.
One reader replied:
One part of peoples’ motivation is the carrot, to receive an award, the other – the whip, to avoid possible sanctions from coercive individuals. I do not understand your surprise – this is typical of our national culture of behavior, it did not emerge yesterday.