Log inskip to content

In Protests, Kremlin Fears a Young Generation Stirring

The weekend anticorruption protests that roiled Moscow and nearly 100 Russian towns clearly rattled the Kremlin, unprepared for their size and seeming spontaneity. But perhaps the biggest surprise, even to protest leaders themselves, was the youthfulness of the crowds.

It is far from clear whether their enthusiasm for challenging the authorities, which has suddenly provided adrenaline to Russia’s beaten-down opposition, will be short-lived or points to a new era. Nor is it clear whether the object of the anger — blatant and unabashed corruption — will infect the popularity of Mr. Putin.

Aleksei A. Navalny, the anticorruption campaigner and opposition leader who orchestrated the nationwide protests — and who received a 15-day prison sentence on Monday for resisting arrest — said in court that he was surprised at the turnout on Sunday and that he was determined to keep up the pressure by running in next year’s presidential election.

“People — both in the Kremlin and the 80 percent or so who tell pollsters they support Putin — have all been acting for years on the assumption that the ice is very thick and will never break. What Navalny is trying to do is show that it is not, and will one day crack,” Mr. Greene said. “Once people begin to believe the ice is in fact thin, it doesn’t matter how thick it really is, and everything can change very suddenly.”

Comments are closed.

Categories