The Kremlin has nearly no fear as far as public protests are concerned and will experience them easily. If necessary, the authorities will approve the use of even greater force against the protesters, two sources close to the Kremlin told Reuters.
One of the unnamed sources said that the forceful response to the massive protests in Russia in January was "just a warm-up." The other source confirmed that the scenario of an even tougher reaction to protests from the authorities was realistic.
The Kremlin noted that massive protests in Belarus and Venezuela did not lead to a change of power. Both Lukashenko in Belarus and Maduro in Venezuela stand firm. The socio-economic situation in Russia has worsened against the background of the pandemic, but has not reached such a decline like it was in Venezuela. Still, most Russians share conservative views and do not welcome the idea of power change.
Representatives of the Anti-Corruption Foundation (or FBK - listed in the registry of the Russian Justice Ministry as a foreign agent) earlier said that the level of violence and cruelty against the protesters suggest that the Kremlin was intimidated by the protests that took place in the streets of many Russian cities. Three sources close to the Kremlin told Bloomberg that social tensions in Russia were rising against the backdrop of the sharp decline in income and restrictions associated with the coronavirus. The tough line of the authorities in countering public protests may increase social discontent in Russia even further.