A Moscow Spring?


Julia Ioffe thinks Putin may have sparked a renewed democracy movement by arresting Alexey Navalny, a key opposition leader, during anti-election fraud demonstrations. Jay Ulfelder wonders if Russians can capitalize on the momentum:

[M]y best guess is that Russia now is about where Egypt was in 2005. In national elections held that year, hopes were raised and then dashed that the Mubarak regime was ready to open the door a crack to real political competition. Led by the Kifaya movement, anti-government demonstrations remained modest in size but, for a time, became widespread. The regime soon quashed Kifaya, but the stirrings of popular activism helped to put the country on a trajectory toward the successful uprising of 2011.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Russia follow a similar "sedimentary" path in which experiences, emotions, and organizations that arise from today’s protests and their repression lay a foundation for the popular challenge that will eventually but inevitably bring Putinism’s reign to an end.

Amy Knight reviews a new movie that she thinks sheds light on reasons behind popular anti-Putin sentiment.

(Photo: Riot police cordon off on Triumfalnaya Square in central Moscow during an unauthorized rally late on December 6, 2011. Opposition leaders defied the Russian authorities today by organizing a second mass protest in two days against Vladimir Putin's 12-year rule, despite warnings of a police crackdown and the jailing of one of the organizers and some 250 protestors. By Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images.)