A new season of protests kicks off on September 15 with mass rallies planned for Moscow and other cities.
But in addition to the opposition's longstanding demands for early elections and a more competitive and pluralistic political system, a new element will be added to the protest mix in what promises to be a very hot autumn -- social issues.
In the coming months, the Russian authorities are due to implement a series of reforms of the country's creaking social welfare infrastructure, including its pension and health-care system. Utilities prices are expected to rise.
Additionally, Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization earlier this summer has sparked increasing anxiety among labor unions and rank-and-file workers.
The prevailing protest mood and the addition of social issues to the equation appears to present an opportunity for Russia's left wing political forces -- if they can seize it.
In this week's edition of the Power Vertical podcast, I discuss the state of the Russian left with my regular co-host Kirill Kobrin, managing editor of RFE/RL's Russian Service.
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