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Opposition is missing a leader, fresh ideas

March 12, 2012, 11:44 UTC+3

Russia’s media continues discussing the rally For Honest Elections in Novy Arbat Street on Saturday

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MOSCOW, March 12 (Itar-Tass World Service) — Russia’s media continues discussing the rally For Honest Elections in Novy Arbat Street on Saturday. Some observers say the protest has petered out. Others say it develops and gains new forms.

The latter rally confirmed the gloomy forecast of political scientists and experts: the number of protesters is going down from rally to rally, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. It has become clear that former slogans are out of time: now nobody is really going to claim the main result of the presidential campaign – the victory of Vladimir Putin. The thing is not merely in the prime minister himself. For Honest Elections is vital before a voting, not after it. Because otherwise it calls for repeal of the campaign’s results.

Anyway, the newspaper writes, the very leaders of the opposition confirm willingly inadequacy of the earlier statements. They are looking for ways to settle the problem. For example, they suggest fighting for freedom of political prisoners, and make lists to forward to the power. Thus, they find themselves in an exclusive circle: they are appealing to those who they demand are dismissed. This means that instead of clear and understandable demands they initiate lists as if expecting the dozens of thousands of those who had come to Bolotnaya Square to be interested all of a sudden in three dozens of those involved in various criminal cases.

Head of the Effective Policy Fund Gleb Pavlovsky is not sure citizens, who had joined the rallies, should be called the opposition: “They are rather people non-represented in the power authorities – neither at Duma nor by the president elect.” They have not become the opposition yet, the expert says: “And I doubt they will.” The opposition, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta quotes the expert as saying, has been present for all this time on the other side of the stage – in the organisation committee: “That was the old opposition, which fought to become fresher, to remind about itself. But it failed. It has not happened and is not likely to happen that those names are together with the new names of the non-represented.”

Nikolai Petrov of the Moscow Carnegie Centre speaks about an extremely low trust to politicians, and the lack of public politics over almost a decade have caused the situation, where those capable of attracting attention are showmen, writers and, to a less extent, politicians. In this sense, the organisation committee has never led a mass protest, Petrov said. “The opposition had the role of organisers. They have received a limited mandate. Their task is not to protest, but rather to keep it in a civilised form, to reach agreement with the power.”

The Moskovsky Komsomolets supposes that people have been protesting initially not rather against Putin personally or his power, but rather against the incredibly complicated life in Moscow if compared with European countries. Those who went to the streets worried about their material freedom, and now are concerned about their civil freedoms. They travelled across Europe, compared life here and over there. And have realised a lot. The mass protests of the creative class were in fact protests against privileged cars and traffic jams, against the overwhelming corruption, the bureaucratic pressure and illegal migration: against the very system based on disrespect for a person and a citizen.

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