Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, May 10, 2013

Not everyone is intimidated

Recent news reports have concentrated on government efforts to stifle opposition. Andrew E. Kramer, writing in The New York Times, reports on a large protest in Moscow. Is the government less powerful than it sometimes appears?

Thousands in Moscow Rally Against New Trials
Thousands of people turned out Monday for a protest here that was intended to draw attention to what organizers said was the return of political prosecutions in the Russian courts…

Organizers said nearly 30,000 people attended the rally on Monday, close to their expectations and the limit allowed under the permit for the gathering. Interfax, a Russian news agency, said turnout was closer to 8,000…

Aleksei A. Navalny
“It’s understood that something powerful and something frightening to some has come out on the street,” Aleksei A. Navalny, a prominent opposition leader who is on trial… told the crowd. “I am part of that frightening thing. It is enormous. It is the people.”

Mr. Navalny, who faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, said he would not be intimidated. “I will go on speaking the truth” to create a better Russia, he told the crowd. “I don’t have another country or another family or another people except you.”…

Gennady Gudkov, an opposition leader and former member of Parliament, said at the rally that the turnout showed that Russians will not succumb to fear. “Arrests and prosecutions are their means of scaring people…

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