Russian political commentator believes the protests that took place in Moscow over the course of the summer are the most significant political occurrence that happened in Russia in many years.
Mikhail Fishman, who works as a TV Rain anchor, is certain that despite the similarities with the events on the Bolotnaya Square in the winter of 2011, there were some genuine differences between the two protests.
He notes that this time around the rallies “were met with much harder violence and repressions” and “Moscow turned into a military scene and a warzone of some kind”.
However, Fishman regrets that violence did work with “the movement effectively suppressed [...] and the momentum destroyed”, despite the clear support of many Muscovites.
The reason for this violence may be the unconditional anti-Putin sentiment as opposed to the “softer approach” initially shown by the Bolotnaya protesters, the journalist argues.
From the first moment on July 21, it was clearly anti-government, anti-Kremlin and unconditional.
While Fishman is unsure as to when the movement may reappear, he believes 2020 may be merely a preparation for the 2021 parliamentary elections, which will likely be the next “point of resistance”.
At the same time, political expert predicts growing tension in the coming year especially in the light of the leadership attempting to prevent Vladimir Putin having to leave office in 2024 when his term ends.
On a positive note, Fishman praises the emergence of new political leaders offering an alternative to Alexei Navalny who is regarded as a controversial figure even in the eyes of the oppositionists who have been unable to unite around him as a political leader.
This summer showed there are new political role models on the scene.
Among others, the anchor named Liubov Sobol and Ilya Yashin, but also entirely new names like the 21-year-old blogger Yegor Zhukov who was one of the people arrested in the first phase of the repressions in August. In spite of his age, Zhukov proved himself a strong leader of the Moscow student movement.
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