News / Europe

Russians Look Ahead to Mass Protest, Presidential Election

An elderly demonstrator holds a poster showing an edited photo of an aging Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and signed '2050. No'.
An elderly demonstrator holds a poster showing an edited photo of an aging Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and signed '2050. No'.
James Brooke

Is Russia’s middle class on the march? People are angry, and are speaking out for clean elections and democracy.

Two days after Russia’s largest democracy demonstration in a generation, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev responded with a few lines in Facebook.

He wrote, "I agree neither with the slogans, nor the statements voiced at the protests."

Within minutes, readers demanded, which slogans? Did he object to the central one, "Clean elections?”

Within 24 hours, more than 12,000 Russians put their names on the line with such comments as, “Shame” and “Pathetic.”

Suddenly, middle class Russians are saying they are fed up, in public.

Mikhail Morozov, a sales manager, is one of them. He said last week’s voting was a waste of time because the Kremlin had decided the results in advance.

Last weekend, protests were held in 95 cities across Russia.

Evgeniya Chesnikova, a 30-year-old chess teacher, came to Moscow’s protest with flowers, symbolizing her hope the protest movement will remain peaceful. “I came here today because this autocratic regime of Putin, it can't stay anymore. It's all of criminals and corruption," he said.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wants to extend his rule of Russia for six more years by winning the presidential election in March.

On Monday, a planned Constitution Day rally next to the Kremlin walls was turned into a pro-Putin pep rally for several thousand supporters.

A few blocks away, Mikhail Prokhorov, Russia’s third richest man and owner of the New Jersey Nets basketball team in the U.S., held a press conference.

The billionaire bachelor announced he is running for president.

Masha Lipman, an analyst at Carnegie Center Moscow, says Mr. Putin could be in trouble. His popularity has been dropping since he announced a job switch with President Dmitry Medvedev three months ago. “The trend is negative for Putin. People are angry and in the same time are invigorated by the success of their collective action. Putin's rating is on decline, has been on decline for quite some time now," he said.

Lipman says Mr. Putin is gambling on riding out the protest storm until Christmas and New Year’s, when Russians take a two-week winter break. “Maybe the calculation of the government is let them let off steam. Soon, we are going to have a long holiday in Russia," he said.

But with new presidential candidates positioning themselves, Russia’s powerful church chiding the Kremlin to hold clean elections, and Internet activists working to organize a new wave of protests for December 24, Russia’s political future is now clouded by a large question mark.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs