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The Power Vertical

Podcast -- Beyond Protests: The Opposition's Growing Pains

Opposition supporters stand in front of the stage during the "March of Millions" protest rally in Moscow on September 15.
Opposition supporters stand in front of the stage during the "March of Millions" protest rally in Moscow on September 15.
For more than nine months now it's been a regular feature of the Russian landscape. Tens of thousands of people gather in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other cities. 
They carry signs with clever -- and often hilarious -- antigovernment slogans. They chant things like "Russia Without Putin" and "Free Pussy Riot." They listen to fiery speeches by Aleksei Navalny, Sergei Udaltsov, and other opposition figures.
And then everybody goes home until the next protest is called.

Now, there is a growing sentiment among the Russian opposition that street protests like the September 15 March of Millions have reached the point of diminishing returns. Can the opposition move beyond street protests?

A key test will come next month when it will hold online primaries to elect a new Coordinating Council to organize its future activities. 

In the latest edition of the Power Vertical podcast, I discussed the primaries and what they mean with my co-host Kirill Kobrin, managing editor of RFE/RL's Russian Service.

Also on the podcast, Kirill and I discussed the ongoing "cold war" in the Russian elite and the possibility of a government shake-up.


Power Vertical Podcast -- September 28, 2012
Power Vertical Podcast -- September 28, 2012i
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Listen to or download the podcast above, or subscribe to The Power Vertical Podcast on iTunes.

Tags: Russian opposition,Power Vertical podcast

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Comment Sorting
by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
September 29, 2012 20:38
The opposition is declining in Russia, in Putin's days,
Not unlike in Hoover's days the Civil Right movement.
The latter unleashed to mingle with protesters "gays"
Of very abominating nature - "white" youth ran away.

Russia is milder, instead of millions of homosexuals
They using the hinching that the "Pusy" smathering
Holy places in "nature" and mingle it with protesters
That already decline under oppressive laws and real.

On another hand, Russia active in heighbor countries
And artificially brestfeeting opposition and platcdarms
For expanding Russia and influxing breeding voshkas.
Even in USA they got my mother killed for my writings
In defence of human and national freedom and dignity.

Still, Africans in USA won over Hoover, left street trash
For long time to make life of America a misarable bust.
Russia don't care about trash, they live it since 9 A.D.,
Except few renovations by Peter and Joseph. As I see
They have not that choice now - plagiarists rule World.

They wouldn't know where they came from and where to go.
In Response

by: Mark from: Victoria
October 01, 2012 01:05
I knew I was going to be sorry I clicked on that comment. And, sure enough, I was.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
October 01, 2012 19:16
Sory for whom, Mark from Victoria?
For me? For yourself? For "Rossiya Mat'"?
For my pure mother, Russia-CIA amalgamated killed?
In Response

by: William from: Aragon
October 01, 2012 23:04
I think he meant that it did not rhyme as well as your other creations, Konstantin.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
October 02, 2012 07:53
Than both of you are absolutly right,
Except small point, I sometimes remind:
I writing prose, but the meaning void the mind,
Unless one shape it up, be short and not to sunk,
In shapeless crowding lines. Rhyme help to underline,
Brite or stress a poin - however, often not enough time.
In Response

by: William from: Aragon
October 02, 2012 22:35
Brilliant! Many thanks.

by: Mamuka
October 02, 2012 01:24
If you look at today's results from Georgia, Russian billionaires can expect more pressure. Putin would rather have ten more Khodorkovskiye behind bars or ten more Berezovskiye in exile than one Ivanishvili uniting the opposition.

by: La Russophobe from: USA
October 06, 2012 17:50
You wrote: "Tens of thousands of people gather in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other cities." It's an unconscionable misstatement. What you should have written is "tens of thousands in Moscow and a few hundred in a few other cities." The opposition movement has absolutely failed to generate any significant interest in street demonstrations outside of Moscow, and that is one fundamental reason why their movement has dissolved into failure bordering on comedy.

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The Power Vertical is a blog written especially for Russia wonks and obsessive Kremlin watchers by Brian Whitmore. It offers Brian's personal take on emerging and developing trends in Russian politics, shining a spotlight on the high-stakes power struggles, machinations, and clashing interests that shape Kremlin policy today. Check out The Power Vertical Facebook page or