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Jan 23, 2021
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“The number of protesters throughout Russia could reach two hundred thousand”

In the photo: police officers detain a participant in an unauthorized rally in support of opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Lenin Square in Novosibirsk

In the photo: police officers detain a participant in an unauthorized rally in support of opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Lenin Square in Novosibirsk (Photo: Kirill Kukhmar / TASS)

150 thousand people are ready to take to the streets for the rally in support of Alexei Navalny, according to Znak.com. The conclusions were made on the basis of surveys and the number of subscribers in the respective communities on VKontakte and Facebook and Telegram.

“The most“ protest ”cities include Chelyabinsk and Samara (4.7 thousand each), Krasnodar and Nizhny Novgorod (4.5 thousand each), Perm (4.2 thousand), Rostov-na- Don (4.1 thousand), Ufa (3.7 thousand), Kazan (3.6 thousand), Krasnoyarsk (3.5 thousand), Voronezh and Barnaul (3.2 thousand each). Among the least interested are residents of Bryansk, Naberezhnye Chelny, Murmansk and Stavropol, ”writes Znak.com.

Will 150 thousand come out? Judging by the advertising that the authorities themselves staged the action, urging people not to go to it from each iron, a lot of people are expected.

– Naturally, with such a warning, the number of protesters cannot be very large, but what difference does that make? – is talking editor-in-chief of the FORUM portal. Moscow time Anatoly Baranov

– Detentions have already taken place in the Far East, forty people have been detained in Khabarovsk, in total about five hundred went out into the street. Multiply by twenty, in proportion to the population, we get approximate figures for Moscow …

– The number of protesters throughout Russia can really reach hundreds of thousands of people or even exceed this figure, – believes Secretary of the Political Council of the Other Russia E.V. Limonov “Alexander Averin

Due to coronavirus restrictions, protest energy did not spill out in the form of rallies and pickets, but accumulated among the people. Many will marry not for Navalny, but against everything bad.

In Moscow, I think, at least 20 thousand will take to the streets. In the regions, of course, there will not be such a number, but there are enough disaffected citizens throughout the country. Again, people have not thrown out protest energy for almost a year. Now is a convenient excuse to do this.

A meeting with tribunes and speakers, naturally, will not happen. People won’t marry for that. They will come out to protest, and an uncoordinated action is the most natural form of protest. It is impossible to “screw” several thousand people at once. All this will continue in time and space. The police “screw” the protester, five people nearby are filming what is happening on the phone. And so – until a new and new iteration.

“SP”: – Where do so many people come from? Is the promotion so well publicized?

– The authorities themselves did most of all for organizing and advertising the action on 23 January. Popular animes are banned just before the promotion. In schools, teachers were instructed to urge students not to go to the rally. Naturally, even those who were not going to go anywhere, after such a similar desire appeared. People of any age have an instinctive desire to ignore prohibitions, to resist them. Young people have this desire most strongly.

I remember that in 2007 in St. Petersburg, before the March of Dissenters in the metro, the city authorities called on citizens over the public address system not to go to the march. Naturally, the whole city came

Our organization has a consistently negative attitude towards Mr. Navalny. These people have shown what they are. At the same time, protests on the 23rd will be attended not only by Navalny’s supporters, but also by other protesters. Among them there will be worthy people who were led into the street almost by the hand by unreasonable decisions of government officials.

“SP”: – This year’s elections. Will the protest wave reach them?

– It’s too early for the election campaign. If the authorities and the police themselves do not incite events according to the Belarusian scenario, if people are not beaten in the streets and tortured in dungeons, then this protest wave will subside by the elections. Will there be a new one? We’ll see.

– The number of people is certainly important, and this indicator directly depends on the applied information mobilization technologies, – I am sure Denis Sommer, director of the Center for the Study of the Problems of Forming Civil Society, Institute for Innovative Development

– For several days, social networks and YouTube were overwhelmed with appeals from mainly representatives of the creative intelligentsia, musicians, actors and leaders of public opinion, calling for an initially uncoordinated protest rally in connection with the detention and subsequent arrest of Navalny. The authorities, represented by almost all Duma factions, officials of the executive branch and the official media, warned of responsibility for participating in an uncoordinated public event, thereby further fueling interest in the event.

“SP”: – The meeting was declared federal. How many cities will support? Moscow is, of course, a city of hipsters, they love Navalny, but what about the regions?

– I suppose that the main centers of mass uncoordinated demonstrations will nevertheless become the capitals: Moscow and St. Petersburg are also a number of large regional centers, mainly where there are grassroots structures of activists.

The call to enter the central streets of cities is understandable for the regions, but obviously failed for Moscow. The absence of a single gathering point in the context of the stated goal – the release of Navalny – makes it safe for the authorities. Much more effective in Moscow, such an event would be anywhere in Sokolniki, that is, in the immediate vicinity of the pre-trial detention center where the opposition politician is kept.

“SP”: – Will there be a rally in the end? Or will they all be screwed at once, and that’s it?

– There will be no rally, and the likelihood of this result lies in the same decentralization of the protest, where there are several supposed gathering places for possible participants. The rally presupposes the presence of sound-amplifying equipment and a single scenario, which no one proposed, and which in such conditions cannot be provided. Possible chanting of individual slogans, this is far from a meeting. With regard to detentions – they will certainly be.

“SP”: – It seems that the authorities are promoting this event – there are appeals on TV not to go …

– The whole story, starting from Navalny’s arrival in Moscow, whether on purpose or not, is difficult to judge, gives off a tinge of theatrical curtain. And the official state media played an important role in announcing the proposed events on 23 January.

Also alarming is the story with the fans of the artist and long-term host of the television project “Dom-2” Olga Buzova. Now, it is doubly strange and partly tragicomic that among those who called for participation in today’s event was Buzovoy’s colleague from Dom-2, Alena Vodonaeva. I think for most politically active citizens the context of Dom-2 is unacceptable in both cases, and especially in relation to this event.

“SP”: – What do you think the organizers are trying to achieve? Can the people trust them? Is there a feeling of provocation?

– It is difficult to understand whether the organizers are raising the question of the need for a change of government in Russia, because none of them has ever called for mass outreach to real social protests against raising the retirement age or against optimizing health care and education, that is, against specific anti-social actions of the authorities … It has always been exclusively about corruption, while there was no clear social and political agenda, except for “time to change power”, as well as the answer to the question “to whom to change?”.

It is also surprising that the organizers deliberately simplify the problems of political persecution. In addition to Navalny, the left-wing politician Nikolai Platoshkin is now under house arrest, the former presidential candidate Pavel Grudinin is under constant attack by raiders on his enterprise. The list can be continued, but it will not actually be relevant to the context of the proposed mass event.

“SP”: – How much can all this be a prelude to the election campaign? Did the time coincide? Could Navalny’s return affect the situation or even destabilize it?

– I do not think that the upcoming elections to the Duma are the basis for everything, because in the current system of political power in the country, this is not the most decisive power tool. Obviously, the main task is once the virtualization of the protest, and the involvement of citizens in the active street activist phase who are at the screens. However, I would like to emphasize once again that it is important to understand that the real absence of a political and social agenda cannot always lead to a positive result for the majority of citizens.

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