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One week out from local elections, anti-government protests in Moscow continue


One week out from local elections, anti-government protests in Moscow continue

russia protests mocow
Photo: Mikhail Pochuyev/TASS

Anti-government protests are expected to take place in Moscow once more today, a week after opposition leader Alexei Navalny was released from prison.

The wide representation in these protests is becoming both more noticeable and more concerning for Putin’s administration. Turnout among college students is in the thousands, as they are packing Russian courts in response to the government’s decision to bar candidates from running for seats in the Moscow parliament elections in September. Last week, over 500 Russian college professors signed an open letter condemning Putin’s repression of opposition candidates.

Local authorities have responded to protests with an uptick in arrests and charges, specifically on the youth. Just this week, a 21-year-old named Egor Zhukov, who was picketing during a protest, was sentenced to 8 years in prison for “rioting.”

The demographic makeup of the protests indicate that Russia’s youth, among other sectors of the population, are frustrated with the lack of civil liberties and political freedoms afforded to them, all of which is now reflected in Putin’s declining approval ratings.

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Still, many are unsure that protests will continue after the September elections. Putin’s administration has faced major waves of protests in 2011 and 2013. On both occasions, Putin’s administration was able to use foreign policy initiatives to garner support and shift the public’s focus.

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