Staunton, June 1 – Just how serious the Russian powers that be take environmental protests and how willing the systemic opposition is prepared to act as an agent for United Russia and the Kremlin are shown by a threat from the Bashkir branch of the KPRF to expel from the party any member who takes an active part in environmental protests.
The threat follows a massive protest against gold and manganese mining in that Middle Volga republic. (For the threat, see kprf102.ru/news/publichnoe-zayavlenie-bashkirskogo-reskoma-kprf-dlya-smi/; for background on the protests there that led to this statement, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2023/05/5000-bashkirs-protest-russian-mining.html).
Bashkir activists say that the KPRF’s decision shows that it is nothing more than a branch of the ruling United Russia party; but they also allow that the communists may have felt pressured to take this decision in order to ensure that the powers would allow some of the communists to become members of the regional parliament in the upcoming elections.
However that may be, the fact that the Kremlin clearly has decided to put an end to environmental protests by whatever means shows that Putin and his team are worried that environmental activist may quickly grow into political protest. What he and they don’t appear to understand is that the actions they are taking almost guarantee that will happen.