Staunton, July 27 – The clash between those demanding that opposition candidates be registered for elections to the Moscow city council and the regime’s siloviki which resulted in more than a thousand arrests was sufficiently dramatic that it is easy to forget that what happened in the Moscow streets reflects a much broader division in Russia, one that continues to deepen.
Among the signs of this today were the following:
· 100 municipal deputies signed an open letter of support for the Moscow protesters (activist.msk.ru/2019/07/mundepy-vijdut-s-izbiratelyami-k-merii.html),
· The KPRF and Left Front also came out in support of the protesters and against the arbitrary actions of the authorities (dailystorm.ru/vlast/segodnya-oni-zavtra-my-v-kprf-i-levom-fronte-podderzhali-protestuyushchih-protiv-proizvola-na-vyborah-v-mosgordumu),
· Demonstrators in Kazan and Ufa echoed the Moscow demands, voicing support for their comrades in the capital and demanding that their own candidates be allowed to run without obstacle (idelreal.org/a/30078313.html and idelreal.org/a/30080075.html).
· Drivers passing by the demonstration in Moscow honked in support (capost.media/news/politicheskiyblog/latynina-vlast-vsye-stareet-protest-vsye-molodeet/), and
· This protest made it clear to all, both those protesting and those doing the suppressing that the protesters against the regime are becoming ever younger while those in power are becoming ever older (ibid.).
But another commentator, Igor Yakovenko, pointed to an even more ominous development that today’s demonstration highlighted: “The demonstratively illegal actions of the powers that be,” he writes, “have angered even those who had always supported those powers” (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5D3B3C98A6D7F).
Consequently, an action intended to intimidate the opponents of the regime has only emboldened them and one intended to highlight the regime’s control of the situation in fact has undermined that control. Both sides are likely to act on this new knowledge, with the protesters increasing their readiness to take to the streets and the powers increasing their repression.
In the short term, the powers that be may be able to control the situation; but they are playing with a losing hand because once the population decides that it need not fear those in power but can act boldly in defense of its interests, those in power are on the way to the trash heap of history however powerful they appear and however long that process in fact takes.