December mass protests planned in Russia
Mareeg.com-Russia's opposition has announced renewed mass protests for December, the International European Daily Express reported. Moscow stands ready to counter the demonstrations no matter what it takes - almost as if the Russian state feared its citizens.
It is a race for power. Who calls the shots in Russia, the so-called Siloviki structures - that is the military, police and intelligence services - or is it the opposition? The battle is not quite fair: on one side there is the power of the state under President Vladimir Putin; on the other there is a splintered protest movement.
It is Russia's youth, above all, who say they want a future without meddling by authorities, a future without Putin.
Isabelle Magkoeva, 21, joined the protest movement in December 2011. Today, she is one of the leaders of the "Occupy Moscow" movement and has clearly pinned her hopes on her peers.
"We are preparing the revolution!" the Japanese teacher told DW, adding that she does not share her parents' non-political attitude. "There are people of my generation who know nothing about the Soviet Union. But contrary to my parents' generation, we are not afraid, and we are not as cynical - we believe change is possible in our country."
Yevgeniya Chirikova, a Greens environment activist said the Greens movement in Europe and in Germany inspired her and gave her courage to start a similar movement in Russia.
"There was nothing comparable in Russia," she told DW. "But in Germany, for instance, I saw people fight for their ideas, take to the streets and launch movements. Grassroots movements, not ordered by the government."
Most Russians, however, still lack Chirikova's courage: though the protests have spread from St. Petersburg and Moscow to other cities, the middle class has mainly kept away from the opposition movement, for fear of jeopardizing its painstakingly acquired security.
The Russian state does its best to keep people from joining the protests: arrests, harsh punishments for demonstrators, restricted right of assembly and construction sites on Moscow's major squares prevent people from gathering.
Opposition politician Vladimir Ashurkov said, "We feel Russia does not have to find its own, special path. Russia is a European country and from a cultural historical and religious point of view, we are part of Western civilization."
The day when Russia will be a part of Europe is near, Ashurkov added. But the goal is not necessarily an economic, political or military alliance, the opposition politician said, adding, "The goal is more constitutional legality, freedom of the press and an efficient state." - (IEDE/dw.de)