Staunton, Apr. 27 – Because Moscow forms such a large part of the Russian population and because the capital is very much at the center of Russian political life, it not surprisingly is the region within the Russian Federation with the largest number of those who have been declared “foreign agents” by the authorities.
But if one considers not the gross number of those so categorized but their number per capita, Moscow isn’t the leader. Instead, Karelia is. That republic has 0.95 foreign agents per 100,000, while Moscow has only 0.78 of them. The figure for Russia as a whole is 0.19 per 100,000 (thebarentsobserver.com/ru/demokraticheskoe-obshchestvo/2023/04/protestnyy-region-kareliya-vyshla-v-lidery-po-plotnosti).
Karelians explain their status as “a protest region” by pointing to the fact that as Northerners, they are independent by nature, and also by noting that the tsarist and Soviet authorities exiled many dissidents to their region. The descendants of these people are now their worthy successors.
However that may be, this per capita statistic is an important reminder that in terms of protest activity, the regions may be causing the Kremlin more headaches than Moscow is – at least in terms of how large a percentage of the population is involved. And that needs to be remembered by all those who suggest only Moscow is a real center of protest.
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