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Politologist: events in Moscow are a strong signal for protests to expand further

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The cause of protests in Russia is the government’s disrespectful treatment of the people. On top of that, the recent protests in Moscow are a strong signal for similar activities to repeat on a larger scale, considering residents’ exhaustion with Russian President Vladimir Putin, says politologist Kārlis Daukšts.

The decision of some residents to take it to the streets of Moscow to protest against the unfair treatment of opposition members before next month’s municipal elections was sudden and unexpected, because the protest is associated with an event that is not all that important – elections that are not really elections but appointment of officials to the administration of Moscow, says Daukšts.

The politologist claims society was offended by the government’s refusal to listen to other people’s – the opposition’s – opinions. This, according to the politologist, caused a backlash that was used by official and unofficial opposition.

«I believe these events could spiral further, because the informal opposition continues forming organizational structure, which is one of the most dangerous turns for Russia’s ruling clique and could potentially impede their ability to enforce their will. The peak of intelligence has taken it to the streets. These people are interested in politics, but when lower class residents take it to the streets it sometimes causes serious changes, which is something politicians in power are trying to avoid,» says Daukšts.

He adds that all tools of propaganda are being used because a relatively small number of Moscow had residents participated in protests.

«Of course, there are propagandists who want to provoke events similar to what happened in Ukraine during the Maidan protests, but these efforts are fruitless,» says the politologist.

He adds that what is important the most is for Russia’s society to understand that without actively participating in the process, the government will not change and it is necessary add pressure through bigger protests.

«I think protests of recent weeks are only the beginning and a powerful signal to protests in Russia possibly expanding, because the exhaustion from Putin is gradually becoming more apparent. This is further proven by results of sociological surveys. There are also multiple other indicators,» says Daukšts.

Russia’s relations with the west are interpreted one-sidedly, says the expert. There is one historical pretext in Russian mentality – external threats are used in Russia as a tool for consolidation. Western sanctions often consolidate the chauvinistic part of the population who see threats to their existence, the politologist says.

Daukšts allows that no major improvements in relations between Russia and the rest of the world are expected to come any time soon.

On Saturday, 3 August, Russian police and National Guard detained 828 protesters. 19 of them were allegedly beaten. The number of detained minors had exceeded 90.

Moscow police have since released nearly all detainees, as reported by OVD-Info, which is an organization that monitors arrests.

At least 19 people remain detained by police.

The Saturday’s protest was announced as a ‘walk on boulevards’. Several hours prior to its beginning, Moscow police had deployed riot police and National Guard units.

Nearly 1 400 people had been detained in a protest that took place a week prior. Around 77 protesters received different injuries during the protest.

Protesters demand equal opportunities for all participants in next month’s elections.


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