Monday, August 12, 2019

Not Just Moscow – Protests Took Place in More than 40 Russian Cities

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 10 – Not surprisingly, almost all eyes today have focused on the fact that the demonstration of 50,000 people in Moscow represented the largest protest in Russia since 2011 (, but perhaps equally important, Russians in more than 40 other cities took to the streets in support of the Muscovites’ demands.

            Across the country, often in percentages that exceeded those in Moscow, Russian citizens of various regions and nationalities expressed their support for the same principles that those in the capital were calling for and experienced similar repression (,,, and

            These demonstrations more than the claims of those taking part in the Moscow streets provided evidence that the citizens of Russia share the views of the people in the capital at least on the issue of open and honest elections and that the protest in the capital was important not just because it occurred there but because it resonated everywhere.

            Unfortunately, these regional protests seldom made the first paragraph of Russian or Western reports about the Moscow demonstrations; and equally unfortunately, other related events also tended to be obscured in what was typically either a celebration or a denunciation of the revival of Muscovite civil society.

            Among the other stories below the fold that deserve attention are the following:

·         Once again Vladimir Putin left town, this time to attend a biker’s meeting (

·         A second Orthodox church in Moscow provided asylum to demonstrators being chased by the siloviki, an indication that there is more support for the people at the level of parish priests than is normally assumed (

·         While the young participants attracted the most attention in the West, observers on the scene were struck by how many middle-aged people there were, people who have something to lose and thus whose participation signals a genuine increase in popular anger (

·         News surfaced today that more Moscow journalists have been summoned to their draft boards for possible dispatch into the army, yet another way the Kremlin is putting pressure on those who report the truth (

·         Moscow police who have been ordered to control the demonstrators reportedly are reluctant to wear their uniforms when off duty lest they attract the negative attention of ordinary citizens (

·         Duma deputies, showing their usual competence, unexpectedly declared that Russia will have fewer unsanctioned meetings if the authorities give permission to more of them (

·         Ever more protesters are recognizing that protests now differ from protests in 2011-2012 not only because the issue at the center of them is self-liquidating as of September 9 but also because the authorities have become far more adept at using social media against the protesters (

·         And finally there is growing awareness that those taking part in the protests are not the traditional opposition but rather a much broader group of people who are speaking for themselves rather than for any opposition leader or candidate ( and

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