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Although Russia appears to have weathered the worst of the global economic downturn, protests that have swept the country in the past few months point to a growing dissatisfaction with the Kremlin's policies. The demonstrations have been remarkable in the span of their geography and demographics, the diversity of the issues they raised, the organizers' savvy in the use of the Internet for communication and mobilization, and the multiplicity of their political affiliations and ad hoc political alliances. The protests have also been unprecedented in the sharpness of their criticism of the government and--for the first time on such a scale and with such vehemence--of the until-now "teflon" Vladimir Putin. Extremely diverse and fluid, Russia's "new protesters" have yet to prove their staying power. Yet, as the only viable political challenge to the Putin-Medvedev Kremlin, they bear careful watching.
Key points in this Outlook:
- Protesters from various geographic regions, demographic groups, and political affiliations have united across Russia to express their dissatisfaction with Kremlin policies.
- Vladimir Putin has become the target of the protesters' criticism; over 47,730 have signed an online petition calling for his resignation.
- Though the protesters make up only a small minority of Russia's population, they warrant attention; many of their demands are essentially calls for an entirely new system of power.
Geography and Demography
Between December 2009 and March 2010, rallies, meetings, and picketing took place in several dozen cities, culminating in the national Day of Wrath in forty-eight cities on March 20. The protests occurred in virtually every major Russian urban center: from Kaliningrad and Chernyakhovsk in the west; Archangel in the north; and Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yaroslavl, Ryazan, Penza, Orel, Voronezh, and Tambov in the center; to Samara, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Ufa, and Astrakhan in east-central and southeastern Russia; Yekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk in the Urals; Omsk, Krasnoyarsk, Tomsk, Irkutsk, and Angarsk in central and eastern Siberia; and Vladivostok in the far east. The number of participants ranged from several dozen people at rural-area protests to two thousand in Vladivostok, three thousand in Irkutsk and Angarsk, five thousand in Chernyakhovsk; and, on January 30, ten to twelve thousand in Kaliningrad. According to the Russian interior ministry, there were 4,900 protests in the first quarter of 2010--almost four times more than the 1,269 demonstrations in the same period of 2009. This year alone, nearly 1.8 million people have taken part in demonstrations.
The migration of what a Russia analyst called the "geography of discontent" from the traditional centers of Moscow and St. Petersburg was, in itself, among the most interesting features of the movement. Indeed, the largest protests were held in the provinces. "There were regions," a Russia expert on regional politics noted, "where as recently as a year ago even getting twenty people out on the street was a problem. Now there are full-blown rallies and picketing there."
Another novelty was the demographic profile of the participants. While the 2005 pensioners' protests against the so-called monetization reform of retirees' benefits once served as the paradigm of national, spontaneous, and seemingly nonpolitical social movement in Putin's Russia, media accounts this time point to a much younger, more affluent, and better-educated group of demonstrators. The middle class has "dominated" the 2010 protests, as one leading Russian political magazine put it.
An analysis of the professional affiliations of the 7,470 men and women who signed (as of March 15) a "Putin Must Go" Internet petition confirms this assessment. Almost half of those who indicated their occupation were clearly in the Russian middle class, members of which have traditionally been defined not so much by income as by education and occupation: engineers, journalists, architects, academics (economists, historians, mathematicians, physicists, and philologists), accountants, computer technicians, teachers, musicians, physicians, entrepreneurs, and managers. By comparison, the shares of the two categories of protesters that have been most visible until now--pensioners and prodemocracy activists--were only 8 and 3 percent, respectively.
Not surprisingly, the issues in the recent protests were considerably different from previous protests. If, in 2005, the pensioners either wanted more from the state or refused to settle for a perceived curtailment of their benefits, many, if not most, of the new 2010 protesters wanted less from the government--less intrusion into their lives and businesses, less taxation and tariffs, less corruption, less incompetence, and less police brutality.* The new protesters' beef with the Kremlin, according to an astute Russian journalist, was the "systemic flaws of the authorities themselves." This sentiment made the protesters far less amenable to being quelled by "simply handing out money," which is how the pensioners were pacified five years ago.
In Vladivostok, people demonstrated against taxes on imported cars. In Kaliningrad, they denounced tax increases on cars, motorcycles, and boats--at a time when Moscow-appointed governor Georgy Boos, said to be close to Putin, was rumored to have bought a personal plane without paying a kopeck in taxes.
Protesters denounced the seizure of property by local authorities in, among other places, the Rechnik cluster of middle-class summer cottages and shacks on the shore of the Moscow Canal. Decades old, the settlement was suddenly condemned, seized, and razed for being "illegally built"--a move widely interpreted as the first step toward a land grab by more upscale real estate owners in collusion with the mayor's office. The Rechnik residents and those who came to their support were animated by rage at a situation well described by Russia's only remaining national opposition newspaper with a rhetorical question: "What is private property in Russia today: a right sealed by law and contract--or a privilege granted and rescinded by the powers that be, based on constantly changing conditions?" As far as "big capital" (the entrepreneurial elite) is concerned, Novaya gazeta affirms that the state holds all the power. Now, the rapacious state bureaucrats have started taking on small-property owners as well.
Local and National Politics
Local politics is dominated by demands for the dismissal of unelected local executives, among them the aforementioned governor Boos, Vladivostok mayor Igor Pushkarev, Irkutsk province governor Dmitri Mezentsev, Primorski Krai regional governor Sergey Darkin, Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov, and Leningrad regional governor Valentina Matvienko.
In Irkutsk, an industrial city of almost six hundred thousand in East Siberia on Lake Baikal, many were outraged by Putin's decision last January to lift the ban on the operation of the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill. Majority owned by aluminum king Oleg Deripaska, one of the Kremlin's favorite oligarchs, the plant is believed to have dumped tons of waste into the world's largest freshwater lake. "Save Baikal, save Russia!" the protesters' posters read.
Among the most prominent national political issues were calls for the restoration of direct elections of regional governors and the end of the political dominance of the "party of power," United Russia: "Return the governor's elections!" and "Down with United Russia!" Democracy activists have demonstrated on the last day of every month with thirty-one days to draw attention to the authorities' regular violation of Article 31 of the constitution, which guarantees the "right to gather peacefully, without weapons, to conduct meetings, demonstrations, and picketing." In Kaliningrad, some of the protesters wore surgical masks as a symbol of muzzled speech.
Government transparency and a return to the policies of glasnost--especially the absence of censorship--were among the issues as well. Corruption was dealt with by placards that, among others, asked, "Stuffed yourself to the gills? How about jail?" ("Zazhralis? A posidet?") Other signs demanded, "Stop coddling the oligarchs at people's expense!" and "Stop solving the oligarchs' problems at people's expense."
The Politics of Dignity
Emerging from the disparate political, economic, and social issues raised by the protesters was a unifying theme, a powerful leitmotif: the restoration of human dignity that is offended daily by the existing political and economic order. This sentiment was perhaps best summarized at a concert in March by Yuri Shevchuk, lead singer of one of Russia's oldest and most popular rock bands, DDT, when he accused the authorities of seeking to reduce the Russian people to the level of a "herd" (bydlo), whose assigned role was to chew the cud and keep silent. The rock star addressed an audience of many thousands during a concert at Olympic Hall in Moscow, his impassioned soliloquy instantly uploaded to YouTube:
Corruption is total. The system of power is cruel and inhumane. People are tormented not only in jails and [labor] camps, but also in orphanages and kindergartens. Take [the former principal owner and chief executive officer of the once largest, now defunct, Russian private company, Yukos, Mikhail] Khodorkovsky and his friend [and former business partner Platon Lebedev]: how long can they be tortured? They have already paid all their debts. How long can they be pushed down into the prison concrete? And look how many scumbags profit from power today, in their epaulettes, with flashing lights on their skulls [as well as on their cars]. Oh, how they rob us, run us down on the roads, shoot us.
Shevchuk's cri de coeur was multiplied in dozens of protests against the lawlessness epitomized by the ability of the politically well connected to violate traffic rules and walk away from car accidents they caused--even in the event of casualties. Irkutsk was riled by an accident in which the daughter of the chairwoman of the Regional Electoral Commission drove onto a sidewalk, killing a young woman and badly injuring her sister. In the video posted on the Internet, the driver is seen getting out of her car and examining the damage to the vehicle without so much as looking at the victims lying nearby, let alone calling for an ambulance on her phone. Following protests, the Irkutsk police finally announced their "intention" to open a case against the driver--almost three months after the initial incident. The victims' family claimed that some of the city's most prominent lawyers refused to take on their civil suit when they saw the defendant's last name, Shavenkova.
In a case in March that roused national outcry, a vice president of Lukoil, Russia's largest privately owned oil company, killed a seventy-two-year-old mother and her thirty-six-year-old daughter when his Mercedes turned into oncoming traffic (the "right" of siren-equipped elite cars) and rammed into their small car. As usual, the police blamed the victims, but the family would not give in, and Internet-generated publicity soon produced an outpouring of support from, among others, the Federation of Motorists of Russia (FAR). Thirteen nationally prominent cultural figures posted an open letter to President Dmitri Medvedev on the Internet, asking for his help in ensuring an unbiased investigation. In a song posted on YouTube, a popular Russian rapper described the crash's alleged culprit as
A persona of a different plane, a creature of a higher order.
For me, there are no problems that a bribe cannot solve,
I don't know people who are more important than my interests,
I don't give a flip about what the press will write.
If you are in the path of my Mercedes,
No matter what the facts, you are to blame for the crash.
"Putin Must Go!"
For the first time outside a narrow circle of intellectual critics, Putin himself has become an issue. For Evgeniya Albats, a leading liberal commentator, this development is the most notable result of the new protests: "people overcoming their fear" in opposing the "great and terrible" Putin. Banners in Vladivostok read: "Down with Putin!" "LiLiPut, get lost yourself!" "Putin, shoot yourself!" "Tariffs/duties--no, resignation--yes!" In St. Petersburg, protesters demanded, "Putin Must Go!" A slogan in Moscow read, "Russia without Putin!" In a regional poll, 39 percent of Siberians thought Putin was "Siberia's biggest enemy" (followed by Deripaska at 16 percent and United Russia at 13 percent).
Posted on March 10 at putinavotstavku.ru, the official "Putin Must Go" website, the aforementioned petition for Putin's resignation collected almost 7,500 signatures in its first five days. (A month later, there were 34,655 signatures, and as this Outlook went to press, the total had reached more than 47,730.) Of those who signed the document, 79 percent were brave enough to put down not only their full name and profession, but also their address.
In the past ten years, the petition states, Russia has become an "authoritarian kleptocracy," merciless toward its own citizens and unpredictable. It is mired in "total thievery and corruption," and its political and social institutions are nothing but a "hopeless imitation" of democratic representation. Years of high carbon-fuels prices, which would have made modernization easier to undertake, have been wasted. None of the most urgent reforms--of the armed forces, the pension system, state and local administration, or the courts and health care--have been accomplished. The quality of education and science has fallen rapidly. Tens of thousands of lives have been lost in the continuing strife in the North Caucasus, industrial accidents, negligence and incompetence, and "police sadism."
Although many among the elite understand the urgent need for change, as witnessed by Medvedev's "Forward, Russia!" article (recently analyzed in these pages), they are powerless to effect any significant change so long as Putin remains in power, for he is "this system's architect, maintenance chief, and protector," as the petition explains. He has created an "anti-constitutional system of a personal rule for-life," and no "turn toward a democratic development" can occur until he abdicates the real power in the country. Putin will never resign, the petition continues; his determination to rule indefinitely is caused not only by a thirst for power, but also by the "fear of being taken to task" for what he has done. Yet, to continue living under a ruler like Putin is "humiliating for the Russian people and mortally dangerous for Russia. The country can no longer carry this cross."
New Political Alliances
In addition to the sweep and heterogeneity of its geography, demographics, and issues, these new protests are notable for the major role played by grass-roots civic associations with no pronounced political affiliations, which joined the traditional prodemocracy oppositionists and human rights advocates. For example, the Fellowship of the Self-Motivated Citizens of Russia (Tovarishchestvo Initsiativnykh Grazhdan Rossii, or TIGR) has been extremely active in the far east, and the aforementioned FAR has demonstrated for road repair and against the arbitrariness and corruption of traffic police.
Just as significant have been ad hoc alliances across the political spectrum. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) protested alongside liberal groups like Solidarity and Yabloko in Vladivostok, and environmentalists marched with Solidarity and the Communists in Irkutsk. In Kazan, Yabloko joined the Communists, the leftist Left Front and Red Youth Vanguard, and the FAR.
The only remaining opposition party in many cities, towns, and districts, the KPRF has become, in a number of instances, a kind of umbrella political force for disenfranchised oppositionists on both the right and the left. While the Communists' national leadership continues to insist that they have nothing to do with the "political adventurists," "charlatans," and "extremists" of the liberal Solidarity movement, many of the party's local chapters do not insist on rigid ideological tests and, for the most part, welcome these latter-day "fellow-travelers." A Communist Party member, who helped organize the protests in Vladivostok, credited "a coalition of left-wing and right-wing opposition forces" with the success. For the first time in years, he said, "[the city's] central square is ours." In Kaliningrad, too, the KPRF entered into a coalition that included not only the "social organization" Justice and the left-of-center party Just Russia, but also irreconcilable opponents of the regime like the Solidarity and Other Russia movements.
For their part, the liberal parties seem to be pragmatic enough in seeking out allies against the regime. "I do not take issue with statements of the leadership of the KPRF [which accuses us] of 'parasitizing' [on their protests]," explained a Solidarity leader. "The protest activity today should be a coalition endeavor. This is the key to its effectiveness."
This effectiveness may account for the significant decline in United Russia's support in the March 14 regional legislative elections. Even with its almost complete dominance of the non-Internet media and its unlimited "administrative resources" (which often include "persuading" industrial employees or college students to vote for United Russia and, not infrequently, vote rigging of various degrees), United Russia's share of the popular vote went down from 61 percent in the 2007 national elections to 49 percent this March. Compared to regional election results one year before, United Russia's support declined in seven out of eight regions; and, in four regions, the party's vote dipped below 50 percent for the first time.
In the most notable upset, Viktor Kondrashov, a young businessman running on the Communist Party's ticket (though not a member himself), won the mayor's seat in Irkutsk with 62 percent of the vote. His opponent, a United Russia candidate supported by the region's governor but "completely unknown" to the city's residents, garnered 27 percent. His "support base," Kondrashov explained to a reporter, was not among the city's poor but among "the well-dressed, young middle-class couples" who drove to the polling stations in "smart cars."
With television and print mostly blocked by the authorities, the Internet has developed into the key opposition medium. In many regions, blogging has effectively replaced opposition press as the medium of news and analysis. Although the range of Internet access varies widely--from near-total saturation in Moscow and large cities to single-digit percentiles in rural areas--the numbers matter less than the demographics of the users, a group that includes virtually the entire urban elite.
The new protesters have used the Internet not only to disseminate opinions and collect signatures for petitions, but also to post the times and places of planned rallies. In Kaliningrad, a flash mob of two thousand assembled within "a few minutes." In Moscow, the Day of Wrath organizers used Twitter to communicate with their followers.
The Authorities' Response
Although reactions have varied from place to place, the authorities generally have tried to avoid violence. Instead of bashing in heads and dragging protesters into police vans (as they have done for years with the Moscow democrats), local governments have tried to prevent demonstrations by making the protest venues (usually the cities' and towns' central squares and streets) unavailable due to sudden "fairs" or "concerts." In Kaliningrad, where the largest protests of the year have occurred, organizers were told "in confidence" that federal authorities were organizing a "provocation." Federal riot troops, reportedly already on their way from Moscow, were preparing to unleash a "meat grinder" (miasorubka)--that is, a massacre. (The organizers canceled the rally, and the veracity of the threat was never established.) Several thousand people gathered anyway and were not dispersed or harassed.
In some cities, such as Archangel, Kaliningrad, and Novosibirsk, police detained protest leaders for the duration of the demonstrations. In Irkutsk, Solidarity leader Boris Nemtsov's speech was interrupted by "hooligans," who turned out to have traveled from Moscow. A key organizer of the Kaliningrad protests, Konstantin Doroshok, was subjected to one of the Russian authorities' favorite means of dealing with opponents: tax blackmail. A former car importer, Doroshok was accused of owing the state "half a million euros" in unpaid tariffs.
In several places, local authorities went as far as initiating "a public dialogue" with the protesters, even promising to repeal some unpopular measures. In Kaliningrad on the Day of Wrath, the governor conducted an hours-long, uncensored, televised question-and-answer session with the region's citizens. Doroshok was invited to become a member of the governor's "consultative council," and the governor "personally promised" to "fulfill all the demands" the opposition was going to voice at the next scheduled rally.
Implications for National Politics
Although far too recent for any definitive conclusions, the new protests may point to a few important trends. First, the economic crisis has eroded support for United Russia and made its effective political monopoly increasingly difficult for the Kremlin to maintain. In the words of Nikolai Petrov, a leading observer of Russian politics, "the 'party of power' can no longer collect [public opinion] rents from the steadily increasing incomes for which the population [in the past] thanked the Kremlin and, consequently, UR [United Russia]."
Largely for the same reason, the political teflon might be peeling off Putin, until now seemingly invulnerable. The architect of the current political and economic system, he is increasingly held responsible for Russia's economic hardships, corruption, and local authorities' blatant disregard for "ordinary people." The dislike is especially intense when he is blamed directly for unpopular decisions, be they taxes on imported cars in Vladivostok and Kaliningrad or the despoiling of Lake Baikal.
While the protesters' anger is still directed mostly at local authorities, it has been clear from the moment Putin introduced his "vertical of power" in 2003–2004--by canceling the election of governors, making United Russia the "party of power," and "packing" the national and local Dumas with United Russia deputies--that the Kremlin was effectively assuming direct and full responsibility for misdeeds at every level. As noted in these pages at the time, the shock absorbers were removed from the vehicle of the Russian state, and its center of gravity rose all the way to the Kremlin, making the whole enterprise vulnerable to a sudden loss of balance and direction. "Boos decides nothing," a protester explained to reporters in Kaliningrad on March 20. "It is Putin who must be fired."
Yet, if popular allegiance and legitimacy indeed begin to shift away from Putin, this development has not translated into support for Medvedev. Despite his proreform rhetoric, he has thus far failed to establish a political identity separate from, not to mention, alternate to, Putin. There were no pro-Medvedev posters at the rallies. If he is to profit politically from the new protests and assume control of them, Medvedev will first have to gain the people's trust--something that can only be accomplished with actions, not merely the right words.
"An Entirely New System of Power"
In February, the Institute of Contemporary Development (rumored to be "Medvedev's think tank") unveiled its vision of Russia as a liberal capitalist democracy. Two months later, one of the report's authors, Professor Evgeny Gontmakher, claimed that the public reaction to the document revealed an "active core" among Russia's citizens--those who believe Russians "cannot live like this any longer" and who tie their hopes to the "European choice" of national development. Specifically, Gontmakher continued, these men and women believe Russia needs a real democracy, instead of an "imitation"; a market economy "with just and honest competition," instead of its "ultramonopolized" and "archaic" system, based on the export of raw materials; and a "socially oriented welfare state," which, Gontmakher added, Russia does not have either.
It is far too early to say if the protests of the past several months evince support for these propositions. The new protesters are still a tiny minority of the country's population. Yet the decidedly middle-class bias of both their demographics and the issues that brought them onto the streets and to the Web appears to place them well within the constituency for change that Gontmakher identified. The nature of many of the new protesters' demands is such that, as a Russian analyst points out, the Kremlin cannot satisfy them without creating an "entirely new system of power," which, unlike the current one, "would not separate the interests of the state from the interests of its citizens." "We are Europeans," a leader of the Kaliningrad protests said to a reporter. "Why should we live like slaves?" On March 20 at a pro-Baikal rally in Irkutsk, an activist exhorted fellow demonstrators, "You must take responsibility for yourselves and for your lives. We must say that Baikal is ours. We are responsible for it--not Deripaska, not Putin--only us." An elderly protester said, "We have been on the sidelines for a long time, but we are not going to tolerate this any longer."
Revolutions sometimes start with less.
Leon Aron (email@example.com) is a resident scholar and the director of Russian studies at AEI. A shorter version of this Outlook appeared in the June 7, 2010, edition of The Weekly Standard. The author is grateful to AEI research assistant Kevin Rothrock, Russian studies intern Gina Lentine, and senior editor Laura Drinkwine for their help in editing and producing this essay.
1. Mikhail Iakovlev, "Liudei potianulo na ulitsy" [People Are Drawn Out to the Streets], Versiia, May 31, 2010, available in Russian at http://versia.ru/articles/2010/may/31/akcii_protesta_
v_rossii (accessed June 1, 2010).
2. Andrey Kozenko, Daniil Turovskiy, Aleksey Chernyshev, Alexandra Konfisakhor, Valery Lavsky, "Den' gneva vyshel pasmurnym" [The Day of Wrath Turned Out Overcast], Kommersant, March 22, 2010.
3. Ibid., translation mine.
4. Oleg Kashin, "Shtorm na Baltike" [Storm on the Baltic], Vlast, March 15, 2010, available in Russian at www.kommersant.ru/doc.aspx?DocsID=1334515&ThemesID=366 (accessed May 28, 2010).
5. Evgeniya Albats, "Putin dolzhen uiti" [Putin Must Go], New Times, March 15, 2010.
7. Oleg Kashin, "Shtorm na Baltike."
8. Alexei Polukhin, "Luchshe nichego ne lomat" [It Is Better Not to Wreck Anything], Novaya gazeta, February 24, 2010.
10. Andrei Ostrovsky, Mikhail Kulekhov, Alexander Litoy, Nina Petlyanova, and Andrei Pertsev, "Narod--vlasti: 'V tom, chto my tak plokho khrenovo zhivyom, vashey viny net. Eto tselikom Vasha zasluga!'" [People to Power: "It Is Not Your Fault That We Live So Crappily. It Is Entirely Your Achievement"], Novaya gazeta, March 22, 2010.
11. Constitution of the Russian Federation, art. 31, sec. 1, chap. 2, available at www.departments.bucknell.edu/russian/const/ch2.html (accessed May 28, 2010).
12. Yuri Shevchuk, "Rech Shevchuka v Olimpiiskom 7 marta 2010" [Shevchuk's Speech in the Olympic Hall on March 7, 2010] (speech, Olympic Hall, Moscow, March 7, 2010), available in Russian at www.rsdn.ru/forum/flame.politics/3728756.1.aspx (accessed March 29, 2010).
13. Ibid., translation mine.
14. Central Directorate of Internal Affairs (GUVD), "Ofitsial'nyi kommentarii GUVD po Irkutskoi oblasti o khode rassledovaniia DTP po ul. Lenina v g. Irkutske" [Official Statement of the GUVD on the Irkutsk Regional Investigation of the Collision on Lenin Street in Irkutsk], February 24, 2010, available in Russian at www.guvd38.ru/?rubr=3&doc=1902 (accessed March 29, 2010).
15. See, for example, "Dramaticheskaia istoriia v Irkutske . . ." [A Dramatic Story in Irkutsk . . .], Ekho Moskvy, February 24, 2010, available at www.echo.msk.ru/news/659228-echo.html (accessed May 26, 2010); "Delo Shavenkovoi: proshlo chetyre mesiatsa" [The Shavenkova Case: Four Months Have Passed], Babr.ru, available in Russian at http://news.babr.ru/?IDE=84830 (accessed April 14, 2010); and GUVD, "Ofitsial'nyi kommentarii GUVD po Irkutskoi oblasti o khode rassledovaniia DTP po ul. Lenina v g. Irkutske."
16. Noize MC (Ivan Alexeev), "Mercedes S666," YouTube, February 28, 2010, available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPXtawGmZgQ (accessed March 29, 2010), translation mine.
17. Evgeniya Albats, "Putin dolzhen uiti."
18. Tom Balmforth, "Rigging Relatively," Russia Profile, March 16, 2010, available at www.russiaprofile.org/page.php?pageid=Politics&articleid=a1268766145 (accessed May 26, 2010).
20. Evgeniya Albats, "Putin dolzhen uiti."
22. Leon Aron, "Dmitri Medvedev's Glasnost: The Pudding and the Proof," AEI Russian Outlook (Winter 2010), available at www.aei.org/outlook/100939.
23. Evgeniya Albats, "Putin dolzhen uiti."
25. Alexandra Sheyko, Ilya Azar, and Alexey Levchenko, "Vserossiiskaia aktsiia 'Den' gneva" [The National "Day of Wrath" Action], Gazeta.ru, March 20, 2010, available in Russian at www.gazeta.ru/politics/2010/03/20_a_3340735.shtml (accessed May 26, 2010).
26. Andrei Sharyi, "Vybory chestnye, no nespravedlivye" [The Honest but Unfair Elections], Radio Svoboda [Radio Freedom], March 15, 2010, available in Russian at www.svobodanews.ru/content/article/1984459.html (accessed May 26, 2010). Includes an interview with Nikolai Petrov, an expert from the Carnegie Moscow Center.
27. Brian Whitmore, "Thousands Take Part in Antigovernment Protests across Russia," Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, March 20, 2010.
28. Vladimir Bachurinskiy, Alexei Chernyshev, Maria-Luiza Tirmaste, and Vsevolod Romanenko, "Kaliningradskie kommunisty pokinuli protestnuiu koalitsiiu" [The Kaliningrad Communists Left the Protest Coalition], Kommersant, March 17, 2010.
29. Andrey Kozenko and Aleksey Chernyshev, "Vlasti vsemi salami stariutsia ne dopustit' vserossiiskii den' protesta" [The Authorities Are Doing Everything They Can Not to Let the National Day of Protests Take Place), Kommersant, March 19, 2010.
30. Anastasiya Kornya, Natalya Kostenko, and Vera Kholmogorova, "Ne dopustit' demarsha" [Not to Allow a Démarche], Vedomosti, March 16, 2010.
32. Andrei Sharyi, "Vybory chestnye, no nespravedlivye."
33. "Communist-Backed Mayor Wants Change in Irkutsk," Reuters, March 25, 2010.
34. I am grateful to Howard Solomon of the U.S. National Security Council for this observation, communicated in a private meeting.
35. I am grateful to Masha Lippman of the Moscow Carnegie Center for this observation, communicated in a private meeting.
36. Oleg Kashin, "Kaliningradskie oppozitsionery vmesto mitinga organizovali fleshmob" [The Kaliningrad Opposition Has Organized a Flash Mob Instead of a Rally], Kommersant, March 22, 2010.
37. Alexandra Sheyko, Ilya Azar, and Alexey Levchenko, "Vserossiiskaia aktsiia 'Den' gneva."
38. See, for example, Marina Litvinovich, "Kaliningradskaia miasorubka" [The Kaliningrad Meat Grinder], Gazeta.ru, March 19, 2010.
39. Mariya Fikhte, "Kaliningrad sdalsya Boosu" [Kaliningrad Has Surrendered to Boos], Gazeta.ru, March 13, 2010; and Mariya Svetlova, "Kaliningrad protestovat' ne budet" [Kaliningrad Will Not Be Protesting], Vzlyad, March 17, 2010, available in Russian at www.vz.ru/politics/2010/3/17/384670.html (accessed March 24, 2010).
40. Andrei Ostrovsky, Mikhail Kulekhov, Alexander Litoy, Nina Petlyanova, and Andrei Pertsev, "Narod--vlasti: 'V tom, chto my tak plokho khrenovo zhivyom, vashey viny net. Eto tselikom Vasha zasluga!'"; Zoya Ershok, "Stoim! Liudei ne trogaem!" [We Are Just Standing! We Are Not Attacking the People!], Novaya gazeta, March 22, 2010; and Alexandra Sheyko, Ilya Azar, and Alexey Levchenko, "Vserossiiskaia aktsiia 'Den' gneva."
41. Marina Litvinovich, "Kaliningradskaia miasorubka."
42. Nikolai Petrov, quoted in Alexandra Samarina and Ivan Rodin, "Partiino-politicheskii modern" [Party Politics in a Modern Style], Nezavisimaya gazeta, April 7, 2010.
43. Leon Aron, "Putin's Risks," AEI Russian Outlook (Winter 2005), available at www.aei.org/outlook/21807.
44. Alexandra Sheyko, Ilya Azar, and Alexey Levchenko, "Vserossiiskaia aktsiia 'Den' gneva."
45. For an analysis of Medvedev's key recent statements and an agenda that he might consider if he would like to back them up with deeds, see Leon Aron, "Dmitri Medvedev's Glasnost: The Pudding and the Proof."
46. Institute of Modern Development, Rossiia XXI veka: obraz zhelaemogo zavtra [Twenty-first Century Russia: An Image of the Desired Future], February 2010, available in Russian at www.riocenter.ru/files/Obraz_gel_zavtra.pdf (accessed May 3, 2010).
47. Evgeny Gontmakher, "'Rossiia XXI veka': Khod obshchestevennogo obsuzhdeniia" ["Russia of the Twenty-first Century": The Course of the Public Discussion], Ekho Moskvy, April 3, 2010, available in Russian at www.echo.msk.ru/blog/gontmakaher/669139-echo (accessed April 4, 2010).
48. Oleg Kashin, "Shtorm na Baltike."
49. Michael Schwirtz and Clifford J. Levy, "Russian Protesters Seeking Ouster of Putin Fall Short," New York Times, March 20, 2010.
50. Brian Whitmore, "Thousands Take Part in Antigovernment Protests across Russia."
51. Alexandra Sheyko, Ilya Azar, and Alexey Levchenko, "Vserossiiskaia aktsiia 'Den' gneva."