Staunton,November 4 – Vladimir Putin’s proposal to restore GRU as the name of Russia’smilitary intelligence service has opened the floodgates for those who wouldlike to go even further in bringing back Soviet-era names. Two such proposalshave surfaced in the last 48 hours and more are likely to follow.
OnNovember 2, Putin proposed restoring the Soviet-era name of Russia’s militaryintelligence arm and call it once again the GRU given what he described as itsglorious history (ria.ru/defense_safety/20181102/1532049969.html).As always, other Russians were listening andwaiting to take their cue from the Kremlin leader’s remarks.
The very next day, the NationalCommittee +60 called on Putin to restore the name KGB to what is now called theFSB. That is especially timely, it said, now that the GRU is back and thatRussia is pushing to expand the union state with Belarus where the authoritiesstill use the Soviet nomenclature (znak.com/2018-11-03/putinu_predlozhili_vernut_nazvanie_kgb).
The group saidthat bringing back the KGB, the GRU and the militia (in place of the police)would “receive the full approval of Russians and neutralize the provocations ofthe opposition which lives on the generous handouts of the West!”
Andthe very next day, poet and commentator Stanislav Kunyayev argued that it wastime to combine the Day of National Unity on November 4 with the celebration ofthe 1917 October revolution on November 7 becaue they have “much more in commonthan many are inclined to think” (business-gazeta.ru/article/401406nov 7).
Suchproposals may not gain much traction, but they are an indication of publicattitudes in the age of Putin and of the ways in which his often incautiousremarks lead people to go further and faster than even he would like inrestoring the Soviet past, something Putin at least recognizes could be adanger to his regime even if some of his most passionate supporters don’t.