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Moscow protests are losing participants

March 19, 2012, 12:14 UTC+3

On Sunday, over 30 participants in the non-sanctioned rally against NTV near the Ostankino television centre were detained

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MOSCOW, March 19 (Itar-Tass) — During the past weekend, several protest actions ended in detention of participants. For the first time over past months the number of participants in rallies was not over several hundred: even at the rally against the NTV television channel, which had accused the opposition of venality, the number of participants was not more than the Strategy-31 rallies usually collect. On Sunday, over 30 participants in the non-sanctioned rally against NTV near the Ostankino television centre were detained.

Protesters came to Pushkinskaya Square, stayed overnight in Manezhnaya Square, brought flowers and biscuits to Ostankino supporting arrested ecologist Suren Gazaryan, and were in the Revolutsii Square, where they did not avoid arrests, the Moskovsky Komsomolets reports. Interestingly, in Pushkinskaya Square the very process was primary. Initially, they planned to protest for liberation of Udaltsov by staring into the empty fountain, but the hero had been released a night before the rally. Singular pickets and small rallies – are they the new forms of protest or are they proofs the protesting movement is decreasing? – the newspaper asks.

On Saturday, leader of the Left Front Sergei Udaltsov and co-chairperson of RARNAS Boris Nemtsov came to Pushkinskaya Square to protest against the NTV television channel, which had broadcasted a film Anatomy of Protest, which claimed the opposition is connected with Western intelligence services, the Kommersant writes. The organisers failed to promote within two days the rally in social networks, thus it featured not more than 300 participants, where most of them would not listen to Boris Nemtsov or Sergei Udaltsov – they were just talking to each other.

The events of the weekend have demonstrated the political rallies even for major occasions do not attract those who participated in events in Bolotnaya Square or the Sakharov Avenue, the newspaper writes. Political scientist Gleb Pavlovsky says the main factor is that people are tired of the same faces and ideas. “Why, for example, the rally against NTV featured again members in the organisational committee of the events For Honest Elections?” Why reporters or anybody different were not invited? The fact that the leaders would not go to the background, turns off many people, the expert told the Kommersant. “Now, the main question on the political agenda is ‘What to do?’”

On Sunday, the NTV television channel broadcasted once again the scandalous film “Anatomy of Protest,” which exposed Russia’s non-system opposition of fraud, venality and political disloyalty, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports. Experts told the newspaper the broadcast of the film was a sort of a response from the power to raised political activity of the society during the presidential election campaign.

COB of the Institute of Modern Development Igor Yurgens called the “Anatomy of Protest” a thorough response of the power to the December rallies in Moscow and other cities: “Despite the mass protests, despite the many proofs of lies on the Internet and the forgery during the election campaigns, somebody gives a signal to stop making advances to the civil society and to demonstrate to the public those apostates and supporters of Orange Revolutions.” From the point of view of the Kremlin’s new policies, the demonstration of the film is a move towards tougher policies of the power, the expert said.

“People have got used to such movements of the power. But generally speaking, its behaviour causes depression of the majority and to higher aggression of minorities. This minority may start acting unpredictably,” Yurgens warned.

How much independent was the television channel in having organised the action of demonstrating the “anti- Orange” film, asks the newspaper. Member of the Moscow Carnegie Centre’s scientific council Nikolai Petrov is adamant: “It has nothing to do with independence here. It must have come from the very top.” The newspaper quotes the expert as being sure that for Vladimir Putin that was a sort of “dropping of emotions after the complicated campaign:” “He had been in tension for two months and considered his activity forced – as a reply to the opposition’s protest activity.”

On the other hand, Petrov said, the film demonstrated the Kremlin’s new tactics: “The power prefers leaving only radicals in the streets, separating from them all those who are not ready for major confrontation with the power or the police.” By the way, the expert considers registration of the Republican Party under a similar angle: “Ryzhkov is being separated from Udaltsov and those who will continue going to the streets, like it used to be with those disagreeing every 31st day. Several dozens of people will be considered exotic.”

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