JRL NEWSWATCH: “Moscow’s Bread and Circus” – Kennan Institute/Maxim Trudolyubov

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

“…. Increasing taxes, raising the retirement age, even starting another war because Russia is doing so well in soccer are the recurring jokes on Moscow’s streets. People compete in creativity in trying to imagine what else the government can do to them while everyone is distracted by the World Cup. One of the jokes is that Putin will now present Igor Akinfeev, who saved two penalties, with a village complete with peasants, just as a czar would do to reward a courtier. ‘If Russia gets to semifinals they will reintroduce serfdom,’ other people were saying. These jokes are remarkable in their sober assessment of the kind of trade-off the Kremlin is offering to the Russian public: If we give you enough bread and circuses, don’t be surprised if further freedoms and rights are taken from you.”

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Moscow’s Bread and Circus