We spoke about the difference between worldviews of the supporters of the “federal” approach to the Russian state pursued by existing authorities, and the “true” Russians (imperialists, chauvinists) who are disgruntled by the Russian Federation’s lacklustre performance in the war with Ukraine.
Just recently we shared a post where a representative of the latter group slammed the existing state building efforts in the Russian Federation, claiming it to be a simulation that uses the image of a “true” ethnic Russian state for its own selfish purposes.
It appears as if the rift between the two approaches is widening. Prevented from building the “Russian World” from the rubble of the 2014-2015 war in the Donbas, the “true Russians” were once again let down in 2022 when the Russian Federation blew another chance to restore the “historical justice” in the troubled territories of “Novorossiya”. Now, these “true Russians” are under attack.
A few days ago the pro-Russian internet space blew up after the news came through about arrest by the Russian security services in Melitopol of Lt. Colonel Alexey Selivanov, who acts as a Deputy Head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the occupied Zaporizhye region. Selivanov was known for supporting the pro-Russian movements during the events of 2014 whilst working in the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs. He switched sides and was not liked by the Ukrainian authorities.
Pro-Russian Lt. Colonel Aleksey Selivanov
Described to be a staunch supporter of the “Russian World”, a monarchist, a person who raised Russian flags over “liberated” towns, Selivanov is an important figure. His arrest by the Russian services led to an uproar. Confused, pro-Russian sources put blame on “Ukrainian forces in Moscow”, on “crooked policemen who want him sacked and get him out of the way of their dealings”, and other reasons. We don’t know exactly what happened with Selivanov. One way or another, he hasn’t been heard from for a week, and Russians see this arrest as a direct attack on their movement.
No less “outrageous” is the visit of two policemen in Moscow to the official residence of the “LPR” blogger Murz whose criticisms of the way the special operation is conducted were shared and translated here on a number of occasions. Murz is currently in the Donbas helping with supplying pro-Russian forces with UAVs, he is an active supporter of the “Russian World” movement since early 2000’s, and a fairly close acquaintance of Igor Girkin. At the very least, they share mutual respect, which is not common for Girkin.
Luckily for Murz he was not in Moscow, otherwise there is a chance he would have already been behind the bars, which certainly wouldn’t be liked by his colleagues. Yet these “true Russians”, to whom Murz belongs to, are unlikely to be able to enjoy the same safety as before going forward.
There is no evidence to say there is a crackdown of the Russian authorities on all the outliers representing the project “Russian World” in its most radical form, that puts a clear boundary between them and the official position. There is no evidence there is any link between the arrest of Selivanov and a visit to Mr. Murz, either. Yet this demonstrates a rift which is likely to continue expanding as the prospects of the Russian success of the special military operation in Ukraine dwindle. With time, and especially in circumstances of a successful counter-offensive by Ukrainian forces, criticisms of the authorities might start coming from all kinds of unexpected corners, and perhaps even from the most loyal supporters of the authorities.