Staunton, March 5 – Aleksandr Kynyev, an expert with Aleksey Kudrin’s Committee on Civic Initiatives (CCI), says “social protests are beginning to occur even in those regions and cities where there hadn’t been any before,” a “very dangerous” development given continuing bad economic news and the reduction in the representative quality of regional governments.
United Russia had been freezing out the opposition parties and ending elections already before 2016, he says; but over the last six months, that trend has accelerated. As a result, he argues, many in Russia’s regions now feel they have no way to present their grievances to the powers that be except by taking to the streets (rosbalt.ru/russia/2017/03/03/1596131.html).
Another CCI expert Aleksey Titkov adds that these protests increasingly are taking on a political coloration. “People who haven’t been interested in politics up to now are affected by limitations on Internet access” as a result of the Yarovaya package. And they are now ready to take a political stand over that.
And a third CCI expert Nikolay Petrov that the relative stability of recent months is ending. People no longer feel they can simply march in place, and they are now ready to protest, a view echoed by economist Yevgeny Gontmakher. (On this CCI report, see also Aleksey Gorbachev’s article in Nezavisimaya gazeta at ng.ru/politics/2017-03-03/1_6941_kotel.html.)