The “nuclear” maneuvers launched by the Russian forces yesterday may have carried messages to the West, especially through their striking designation of “strategic deterrence”, borrowed from the terms of the “Cold War” eras. But it is certainly not directed at the Russian interior, as the launch of intercontinental missiles, which are capable of carrying devastating warheads, do not carry messages of interest to millions of Russians who are looking to improve their living conditions.
The focus on the “element of strength” in President Vladimir Putin’s domestic political discourse began in 2012 when he regained the key to the Kremlin after a four-year “vacation” as prime minister. At that time, Putin launched the strategy of reviving military power and set up a huge program to develop the Russian military institution, with an initial budget of 23 trillion rubles.
Undoubtedly, part of the slogan of “restoring strength” and the restoration of Russia’s prestige has found acceptance among large segments of society. On the other hand, it seemed from opinion polls that betting on strength is not on the list of priorities of the majority of Russians, who prefer for their country another path described as “the normal state.”
According to the results of a large-scale poll conducted last year, two-thirds of Russians said they would like to see their country “a country with a high standard of living, even if it is not one of the most powerful in the world”.
In general, studies have indicated that since 2015, the percentage of those who want to see Russia as a country with a high standard of living and do not care about the size of its military power is gradually increasing. She believed that “people are less willing to sacrifice their internal well-being for the sake of foreign policy.”