Staunton, February 6 – A sign that demonstrators speak for more than themselves is when passersby join protesters. That rarely happens in Russian areas, as a result of conformist attitudes and fears of the siloviki, but today in Kalmykia, people on the street who pass demonstrations against the imposition of a DNR official as mayor of Elista are now joining in.
They are doing so despite the expanded presence of police around even officially sanctioned demonstrations and despite the imposition of large fines against those who have done so in the past, an indication that the positions the protesters are taking reflect a far broader swath of the population.
Many passing by the protests, observers say, were favorably inclined to what the demonstrators were doing, and some of them – and this is the key change from the past – are now taking the remarkable step of joining those holding signs and chanting slogans to show their support (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/345370/).
Kalmyk journalist Valery Badmayev was among those taking part. “From the beginning,” Kavkaz-Uzel reports, “he held a placard declaring ‘deputies, give up your mandates!” and hten one saying “Trapeznikov, get out of Elista. You are an alien here.” He remarked that “some people actively support us.” Only a few, “a very few,” don’t.