Russians Are Rallying Behind a Political Outsider

MIN READJun 19, 2017 | 18:16 GMT

The protest movement coalescing around Alexei Navalny's anti-corruption drives are concerning for the Kremlin because they are not tied to a specific trigger, but rather general dissatisfaction with the state of Russia.


The tens of thousands of demonstrators who hit the streets in 150 cities across Russia, including in Moscow and St. Petersburg, were part of the largest set of protests seen during President Vladimir Putin's reign, certainly in terms of scope and also perhaps in size. And it was not only the breadth of the protests that grabbed the Kremlin's attention, but also the nature of the grievances being aired. The dissenters focused on some of the most entrenched, systemic concerns Russia faces today -- government corruption, a stagnant political system and a weak economy. And unlike the mass protests of 2010, 2011 and 2012, the June 12 gatherings were not sparked by a specific trigger -- an election, for instance -- that the Kremlin could easily address. The protesters of 2017 are rising up against long-standing issues that strike at the very core of the Kremlin's system, making this a...

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