Episode
September 4, 2019

Will pro-democracy protests change anything in Russia?

Thousands of people are taking to the streets of Moscow this summer to demand fair elections, in defiance of police brutality and mass arrests.
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On Wednesday, September 4, 2019 at 19:30 GMT: 

What started out as discontent over a sleepy local election might be growing into a larger movement to fight what protesters say is a climate of political oppression in Russia. This summer, tens of thousands of people have been demonstrating across Moscow after opposition candidates were disqualified from running for city council. Crowd numbers have only swelled following police crackdowns at the demonstrations, leading to some of the biggest protests in Russia's capital since 2012.

More than 2,000 people have been detained by authorities over the past eight weeks, though many have been released. Viral footage of the protests, including of a women being punched in the stomach by riot police, have further fueled public outrage. The demonstrations come at a critical time for Russia, whose economy is hurting from low oil prices. Economic strain is one reason widely popular President Vladmir Putin is seeing his poll numbers start to drop, say analysts.

Putin has been in power for 20 years and is due to step down as president in 2024. Many younger demonstrators have never experienced Russia under a different leader, and they and others are pushing to take their country in a more democratic direction. This backdrop helps explain why officials are working hard to contain Moscow's protests. But whether what's happening in the capital will spread to the rest of Russia remains up for debate.

In this episode we ask, will protests change anything in Russia? Join the conversation. 

 

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:

 

Vitaly Milonov @Villemilonov
Member of the Federal Assembly of Russia

 

Roman Dobrokhotov @Dobrokhotov
Journalist at The Insider
theins.ru

 

Yana Gorokhovskaia @gorokhovskaia
Researcher at Columbia University 

 

Read more:
The pro-democracy protests rocking Moscow, explained - Vox
Moscow protests: Students fighting for democracy in Russia - BBC
Russia Protests Present New Challenge to Putin’s Dominance – Wall Street Journal

What do you think? Record a video comment or leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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