The ability of an Orwellian society to bend the will of individuals and force them to change their minds is well known. Putin’s Russia, however, has proved that not only a harsh totalitarian state, such as the Soviet Union, but also a somewhat milder, authoritarian regime is able to achieve almost the same result. Such a regime can threaten to diminish the income, privileges or social status of prominent people. By murdering or jailing only a few active people (businesspeople, journalists and politicians), the regime can show its potential opponents that everyone in the country is vulnerable. Looking back on Stalin’s time, one cannot help but think that he could have achieved his goals and stayed in power until his death without using such horrendous acts of violence. The ideological evolution of Yegor Gaidar represents a strong piece of evidence in support of this thesis.

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