Thousands Protest In Moscow Against Plan To Raze Soviet-Era Housing

Moscow Aerial View Satellite Image File Photo, adapted from image at jpl.nasa.gov

(RFE/RL – Tom Balmforth – May 14, 2017 – ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc. Article also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-moscow-protests-demolition-krushchev-era-housing/28487244.html) MOSCOW — Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Moscow to protest the proposed demolitions of Soviet-era housing blocks in the Russian capital. The May 14 protest, held on a wide central Moscow street named after Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, marked […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Dissent Shakes the Foundation of the Kremlin’s Power” – Stratfor

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

… Most of the dissidence in Russia today does not come in response to a specific incident – such as the electoral fraud that incited mass demonstrations in 2011-12 – but to the country’s political system more generally. With a few exceptions, rather than targeting the president himself, the current protests are aimed at corruption or economic stagnation. … To […]

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Putin’s Concerns about Election May Allow Protests in Russia to Begin to Work

File Photo of Moscow Protest with Riot Police

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 10, 2017) Vladimir Putin’s desire that nothing should upset his electoral campaign may cause Russian officials to postpone plans for various changes until after the vote if they face or fear they will face mass protests, a trend that might keep things quieter than otherwise but one that gives those with […]

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Russians Remain Too Atomized and Lacking in Empathy to Make a Revolution, Kirillova Says

File Photo of Revolutionaries Marching in Moscow in 1917, adapted from image at state.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 2, 2017) Many nations facing the difficulties #Russians now are would #revolutionary change [sic], but Russians are unlikely to do so, Kseniya Kirillova says, because they remain far too atomized and far too lacking in empathy to look beyond their immediate personal problems and identify with the problems of others. The […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Hardliners urge Kremlin crackdown on social media; Russia has introduced increasingly draconian web laws but some are pushing for more” – Financial Times/ Max Seddon

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

“… success in using social media to mobilise youthful anti-corruption protesters has sparked calls for the Kremlin to step up internet censorship. … [A]t a censorship conference … Oscar-winning film director Nikita Mikhalkov … showed a documentary that accused … Navalny of luring children to violent protests against … Putin. ‘… [Young people] don’t know any history and they won’t until they get a rubber […]

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Behind the Russian mirror; For Russia’s media, social inequality has never been a hot topic. Meet the people behind a new media organisation trying put injustice on Russia’s political agenda.

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(opendemocracy.net – Maxim Edwards – April 15, 2017) Maxim Edwards is Commissioning Editor at oDR. He writes on nationalism, migration, minorities and memory, with a focus on post-Soviet countries. His articles have appeared in Al-Jazeera, Al Monitor, Souciant and the Forward among other publications. Read the latest in our ongoing Unlikely Media series. As part of this series, oDR profiles […]

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NEWSLINK: “Unequal Russia: is anger stirring in the global capital of inequality?” – The Guardian (UK)  

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“With the richest 10% owning 87% of all the country’s wealth, Russia is rated the most unequal of the world’s major economies. Amid falling oil prices and a wave of protests, Shaun Walker asks how Russians really feel about life’s inequalities. …”

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NEWSLINK: “A New Organization Is Battling Russia’s Culture of Impunity. To end the attacks on journalists, activists, and writers, Freedom of Speech is standing for the best traditions of Russian civil society.” – The Nation/ Nadezda Azhgikhina

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

“… the declaration of the new association, Freedom of Speech, appeared on the website of Ekho and other media, demanding that the perpetrators of the threats be held responsible and also that there be an end to the culture of impunity in general. …”

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‘Young Russians Love Putin, State Ownership and Socialism,’ Poll Finds

Russia Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 17, 2017) The massive participation of young Russians in the March 26 anti-corruption demonstrations led many Russian and Western analysts to predict that the rise of a generation born or at least grown up after the end of the Soviet Union will have a profound and positive impact on the future […]

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“Young people in Russia today don’t have it easy”; After young people and students took to the streets, education is firmly on the agenda in Russia.

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

An interview with Mikhail Sokolov on the threats to academic freedom and whether one of Russia’s leading universities will survive. (opendemocracy.net – Tatyana Dvornikova, Mikhail Sokolov – April 12, 2017) Tatyana Dvornikova is a Moscow-based journalist. She works with Colta, Kommersant and Radio Mel. Mikhail Sokolov is Professor of Political Science and Sociology at European University in St Petersburg. Education […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Power brokers in the Kremlin jostle to succeed Putin; President’s authoritarianism has barred the rise of any challenger” – Financial Times/ Kathrin Hille, Henry Foy

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

“More than 17 years after … Putin became president, the authoritarian system he built is showing signs of internal corrosion. … Navalny’s ambitions are not expected to undo … Putin’s re-election bid. But the uncertainty over what comes next is stirring ambitions and sparking jostling among power brokers in the Kremlin and across Russia. … Putin remains the supreme arbiter of Russia’s politics. […]

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Five Telling New Poll Results from Russia

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 6, 2017) Polls in Russia are anything but reliable guides to popular attitudes: Pollsters in many cases structure their questions to get the results those in power want; and the population often tells those conducting surveys not what they in fact think but rather that which they believe the authorities want […]

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Russian PM Calls Opposition Corruption Charges ‘Rubbish,’ ‘Nonsense’

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – April 4, 2017) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has for the first time responded to allegations of corruption made by opposition activists, calling them “rubbish” and “nonsense.” Medvedev said on April 4 the allegations, which have led to a series of street demonstrations by opposition protesters, had been made “to try to pull people out into […]

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Putin Is Up, But Russians Are Feeling Down

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – April 3, 2017) Russia’s long recession is officially over: In the fourth quarter of 2016, the country’s economy grew 0.3 percent, and growth appears to be continuing. Consumer sentiment is in positive territory for the first time since 2014. The numbers indicate that President Vladimir Putin’s Russia is regaining some of its lost […]

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NEWSWATCH: “A near-no show on Red Square highlights problems of Russia’s protest movement” – Washington Post/David Filipov

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

“… Last weekend’s rallies clearly caught authorities by surprise. State television ignored them, and no one spoke about them until Monday, when Putin’s spokesman called them ‘a provocation.’ That word gets used a lot in Russian officialdom in the sense of ‘someone was trying to start something, but we aren’t going to say what or who or why,’ when, in fact, […]

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Alexei Navalny Wants Putin’s Job. Here’s What He’d Do With It; The Russian presidential hopeful who led Sunday’s coast-to-coast protests talks about corruption, the Kremlin, Ukraine, and Trump.

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Ragozin – March 30, 2017) Alexei Navalny is in jail. When he gets out, the man determined to unseat Russian President Vladimir Putin next March probably won’t be permitted to run. Banned from Russian TV, he has to barnstorm the vast nation to drum up support for his long-shot bid. Yet he is Putin’s most […]

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Study: Russia’s Most Active Protesters Are Its Least Active Voters

Russia Regions Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 31, 2017) Russia’s most active protesters may be its least active voters, according to a new study. Of the 10 Russian regions where the highest percentage of the overall population took part in the March 26 anti-corruption protests, nine had a voter turnout below the national average during the Sept. 2016 parliamentary election. In […]

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Are Russian Teens Really About to Storm the Kremlin? Recent anti-corruption rallies will go down as Russia’s most youthful protests

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – March 30, 2017) When 12-year-old Gleb took to the stage at an anti-corruption protest in the Siberian city of Tomsk last week, few in the audience would have expected the moment to go viral. “It doesn’t matter who’s in power – Putin or Navalny,” Gleb said to rounds of applause. “The most […]

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NEWSLINK: “Where Will Russia’s Protests Lead? The anticorruption wave could give way to greater instability” – The National Interest/Alexander Lukin

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

“March 26 saw widespread protests against corruption in Moscow and several other big Russian cities. The formal cause was the absence of reaction by the authorities to the film He Is Not Dimon to You, produced and distributed online by the Foundation Against Corruption, headed by opposition activist Alexei Navalny. The film accused Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of corruption, showing […]

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Is #Navalny a ‘Young and Sober’ #Yeltsin or ‘the #Putin of Tomorrow’?

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 28, 2017) Aleksey #Navalny’s new prominence and his success in attracting young people – which some see reflected in the fact that he now has more “likes” than Moscow TV (politsovet.ru/54872-navalnyy-obognal-po-chislu-podpischikov-pervyy-kanal-rt-i-rossiyu-24.html) – #Putin loyalists are attacking him and others asking what kind of a leader he may be. Putin’s press spokesman […]

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More On Russia’s Protests

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore, The Morning Vertical – March 28, 2017) … There is no shortage of commentary on nationwide protests in Russia on March 26. Here’s a sampling: In The Atlantic, Julia Ioffe explains the significance of this past weekend’s protest. Leonid Ragozin has a piece in Bloomberg looking at Navalny’s campaign operation in Siberia and what […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Russian regime’s critics are falling dead, but their discontent can’t be killed” – Washington Post

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

“… #Voronenkov … #Gorokhov … only the latest in the string of violence and death that has trailed those who criticize … #Putin and his regime. Boris #Nemtsov … was assassinated while walking home across a bridge within sight of the #Kremlin walls. Alexander #Litvinenko, a former KGB officer who had become a fierce critic of … Putin … killed in London with radioactive polonium placed […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Russian protests are making the Kremlin rethink 2018 presidential elections. The implicit choice in next year’s elections was looking like ‘Putin or nothing.’ But the breadth of protests Sunday organized by anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny is changing that equation.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Russia Regions Map

“… staging significant protest actions in almost 100 #Russian cities Sunday, Alexei Navalny has laid down a serious challenge to Vladimir Putin. The anti-corruption blogger-turned-politician wants to run for president in elections that are barely a year off, and has been conducting himself as if his campaign were already under way. The Kremlin has the means to prevent him, by invoking a […]

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David Filipov: “There were some pretty rough arrests, & 1 officer was hospitalized but for most of the day police in #Moscow were generally patient w crowds”

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(David Filipov @davidfilipov (Washington Post) – Twitter – March 26, 2017) Washington Post correspondent David Filipov writes on twitter: “There were some pretty rough arrests, & 1 officer was hospitalized but for most of the day police in #Moscow were generally patient w crowds” [embedded tweet should also load below:] There were some pretty rough arrests, & 1 officer was […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Oil is the cause of Russia’s outsized corruption problem” – bne Intellinews/Ben Aris

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

“#Russia was wracked by protests over the weekend when an estimated 60,000 people took to the street in more than 80 cities large and small to decry rampant corruption. Russia does have an outsized corruption problem and its #oil wealth is to blame.  … the Russian government has identified corruption as probably the biggest drag on growth and has launched a […]

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Interfax: March 26 rally organizers warned of illegality of staging rallies in city center – Moscow authorities

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

MOSCOW. March 23 (Interfax) – Moscow authorities have considered all the applications filed by organizers for public events to be held in central Moscow on March 26, Vladimir Chernikov, head of the Moscow Department for Regional Security and Combating Corruption, told Interfax on Thursday. “The Department has received five applications from a group of people for public events to be […]

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Interfax: Moscow authorities believe their rejection of Navalny’s requested anti-corruption rally final

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

MOSCOW. March 18 (Interfax) – The Moscow authorities do not plan on reconsidering their refusal to approve the anti-corruption march scheduled by opposition activist Alexei Navalny and his supporters in Moscow for March 26, Vladimir Chernikov, the head of the regional security and anti-corruption department for Moscow, said. “This decision is final,” Chernikov said, replying to a relevant question from […]

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Protests in Russia Increasing in Number but Not Yet Coming Together to Threaten Kremlin

Moscow Protest File Photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 7. 2017) Protest actions are becoming increasingly frequent across the Russian Federation, but they have not assumed the “massive” level of those earlier in this decade and thus do not yet threaten the powers that be, experts say. But they have the potential to do so as the economic situation in […]

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NEWSWATCH: “#Russia’s City of Rebels: St. Petersburg is a place of protest against power — and the only major Russian city in which the opposition still has a voice. Why?” – Der Spiegel/Christian Neef

St. Petersburg Landmark

“… Voter turnout alone shows that #StPetersburg is the place where people rebel against the despotism of #Moscow’s policies. … when there was a vote on the new Russian parliament, less than a third of St. Petersburg residents cast ballots. … only 13 percent of eligible voters … voted for #Putin’s government party. In Chechnya, 91 percent voted for the […]

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Moscow Counting on Russians Passively Accepting Raising Pension Age beyond Male Life Expectancy

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 2, 2016) The Russian government doesn’t have to worry about widespread protests over its reported plans to raise the pension age of Russian males in 2018 to one older than their average life expectancy, a Russian scholar in Yakutsk says. The opposition will complain, but it doesn’t have the votes in […]

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Share of Russians Willing to Protest. Never Large, has Fallen Since 2014, Levada Expert Says

Moscow Protest File Photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 17, 2017) The share of Russians willing to protest or take part in any political activity at all, never large in the best of times, has fallen significantly since Vladimir Putin began tightening the screws in 2014. Instead, ever more Russians are showing their willingness and ability to adapt to the […]

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The Russian Paradox: Why the Economic Crisis hasn’t Sparked Political Protest

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 22, 2016) Most countries suffering from an economic situation as dire as that of the Russian Federation would see public support turn massively away from the incumbent administration and major political as well as economic protests as well. But in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, neither has happened. While there has been a […]

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Kremlinology: an intervention; Protests and strikes across Russia show that the country’s “silent majority” is becoming louder. But are pundits even listening?

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(opendemocracy.net – Sean Guillory – September 13, 2016) Sean Guillory lives in Pittsburgh. He hosts the SRB podcast, a weekly podcast on Eurasian politics, history and culture, and blogs for seansrussiablog.org. You can follow him on Twitter @seansrussiablog. Writings on contemporary Russia are mostly variations on the same subject: Vladimir Putin; his rise to and iron grip on power. Western […]

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Angry Farmers Stage Tractor March on Moscow

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – August 22, 2016) Several hundred farmers from southern Russia complained of intense police harassment Monday as they entered the second day of a drive towards Moscow they are staging to raise awareness about the problem of local corruption. In the space of 24 hours, their convoy of tractors and cars was stopped […]

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NEWSWATCH: “In the ‘lungs of Moscow’ forest, Russia’s civil activists make their mark; Runaway housing developments have been going up around Moscow, threatening the ‘lungs’ of the city – the ring forest around the capital. But locals have been fighting back against the project – with success.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

A diverse band of urban activists, communicating largely through social media, are combating plans to build an enormous high-rise housing development amid the forested ring around the capital  …. The protesters who make up the Mortongrad Nyet! coalition have no shared ideology, and certainly aren’t interested in criticizing the Kremlin. Yet they are redefining the limits of Russian civil society […]

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Russian Artist Pavlensky Stripped of Award Over Support for Police Killers

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ed Crowther – July 8, 2016) The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) has stripped radical political performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky of the Vaslav Havel prize, awarded to him in May, the Dozhd news website reported Friday. The decision was a result of Pavlensky’s support for the Primorye Partisans, a group recognized as a criminal organization by […]

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Russia’s young people aren’t angry, they’re furious

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

Five years after Russia’s protest movement turned sour, young people are still frustrated with the status quo. (opendemocracy.net – Mikhail Ugarov – June 8, 2016) Mikhail Ugarov is a Moscow-based writer, art director and director born in 1956 in Arkhangelsk, Russia. He graduated from the department of dramatic arts at Moscow’s Gorky Literature Institute and went on to direct numerous […]

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Jailed for Protesting Against the Kremlin – Life 4 Years After Bolotnaya

Russian Riot Police file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog – May 13, 2016) The Bolotnoye protest followed disputed parliamentary elections that saw the ruling United Russia secure a narrow parliamentary majority and Putin return to the presidency. The lights went out without so much as a flicker in the Moscow apartment shared by Andrei Barabanov, his mother and girlfriend one evening in […]

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Lower-Level State Employees Nucleus of Coming Social Revolt in Russia, Kagarlitsky Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 4, 2016) The reasons Russians are protesting haven’t changed but the composition of those taking part in protests has, Boris Kagarlitsky says; and the groups that are likely to form the nucleus of a new social explosion are not the young and the pensioners as in the past but men in […]

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Outrage and outsourcing in Russian healthcare

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

The doctor is out. Hunger strikes, mistreatment of patients and general desperation are beginning to seem like a feature – as opposed to a bug – of Russia’s healthcare system. (opendemocracy.net – Artur Asafyev – April 28, 2016) Artur Asafyev is a freelance correspondent for Radio Svoboda and Novaya Gazeta in Ufa, Bashkortostan. He has worked as a journalist since […]

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The pitchforks are coming; Farm workers in the depths of southern Russia are hardly a protest constituency, but corruption and corporate raids have pushed them to the brink. They may even take their grievances to Moscow – by tractor.

Russia Regions Map

(opendemocracy.net – Svetlana Bolotnikova – April 7, 2016) Svetlana Bolotnikova is a Russian journalist and correspondent for KavPolit, an online publication specialising in political developments in the Caucasus. Aleksei Volchenko, 37, is a farmer in Kalininsky district, in the Kuban area of southern Russia. There are no large cities or towns here, just stanitsy, Cossack villages. Residents either work their […]

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NEWSWATCH Kyiv Post: “Protester who tore up Poroshenko’s photo gets 4.5 years in jail”

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

A court in Vinnytsia, a city 270 kilometers southwest from Kyiv, sentenced local activist Yuriy Pavlenko to 4.5 years in prison for hooliganism with a use of a weapon. Pavlenko denies the charges, saying that he is being punished for publicly tearing up the portrait of Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko during a protest action. … activists protested to stop the […]

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Interfax: Poll: Most Russians not ready to join protests

File Photo of Moscow Protest with Riot Police

(Interfax – March 14, 2016) Seventy percent of Russians have called unlikely mass protests against falling living standards and in defense of their rights, yet the percentage has reduced by seven points since October 2015 (77 percent), the Levada Center told Interfax. The share of Russians who deem economic protests to be possible has grown by a third, from 18 […]

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NEWSWATCH Washington Post: “As energy prices drop, ordinary Russians are protesting”

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

… Once prosperous enough to afford expensive Moscow apartments, they are now staggering under an economic burden fueled by geopolitical conflict and the plummeting price of oil. * * * Russia’s foreign-policy adventures … in Ukraine … in Syria — have tied up state resources …. The drop in energy prices has drained government coffers and sent the ruble skidding […]

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Even motor processions are now a demonstration in Russia

Moscow Roads

A law signed into force by Russian President Vladimir Putin equates car processions to demonstrations and the establishment of tent cities in public places – to protesting. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – March 10, 2016) Motor processions and tent camps in public places in Russia have been added to the list of events defined by law in Russia […]

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Moscow Authorities Approve March in Honor of Slain Kremlin Critic Nemtsov

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 18, 2016) Moscow City Hall has approved a rally to mark the one-year anniversary of the death of Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov, opposition party member Konstantin Merzlikin told The Moscow Times on Wednesday. The authorities have given permission for 50,000 people to attend the memorial event, which is due to take place on Feb. […]

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For Protesting Russian Truckers, A Christmas Far From Home

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(RFE/RL – Tom Balmforth – January 6, 2016) KHIMKI, Russia — After dark in the frigid parking lot of an Ikea outlet north of Moscow, in the trailer of a grubby white truck heated by a generator, a dozen men are sitting in winter coats and hats watching a Soviet blockbuster on a projector. The cramped space has been a […]

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The End Of Russia’s Mass Hallucination

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(RFE/RL – Brian Whitmore – December 23, 2015) Fresh barbed-wire fencing around the nation’s main TV tower isn’t exactly a sign of a confident regime. In addition to reinforcing its perimeter, Moscow’s state-run Ostankino television center also upgraded its security detail, replacing regular police officers with elite Interior Ministry forces. “These are normal security measures that are connected to the […]

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Majority of Muscovites Support Truck Driver Protests – Poll

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 11, 2015) More than 70 percent of Moscow residents aware of the ongoing protest by truck drivers support their action, a poll released Wednesday by the independent Levada Center indicated. While the majority of Muscovites are familiar with the protest, 21 percent of the capital’s residents said they had heard nothing about it, while […]

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