Elise Giuliano (Lecturer, Political Science and Director of Graduate Studies, MARS-REERS) writes about the anti-Putin protests in the Russian Far East and conclusions that might be drawn from these demonstrations for the Washington Post's Monkey Cage (August 6, 2020).
From the introduction:
In Khabarovsk, a Russian city nearly 4,000 miles east of Moscow, thousands of people have been protesting President Vladimir Putin for more than three weeks. The protesters want the Kremlin to release their governor, Sergei Furgal, whom federal agents arrested in July and charged in connection with multiple murders from 2004 and 2005.
The protests have been sustained and large, drawing an estimated 20,000 to 50,000 demonstrators on weekends in a city of 600,000 people. Smaller protests in solidarity have occurred in other major cities, including Omsk, Vladivostok, Moscow and St. Petersburg. Even New York hosted a picketer.
Mass protests in support of a governor in Russia’s far reaches are extremely rare — and tell us two critical things about Russian politics. First, the protests suggest that popular support for the Putin regime may be more fragile than polls suggest.
Second, they demonstrate how competitive politics can reemerge in Russia despite its authoritarian political system. Russia’s regions, rather than Moscow, may be the most likely sites for that to happen.
You can read the entire article here.