The pro-capitalist triumphalism of the early 1990s has turned into disenchantment, not just with the sham democracy which voters experienced earlier this month, but with the corruption of a mafia-style capitalism.
The demands for a fair election are part of a much bigger movement of discontent which is sweeping
On Saturday, up to a 100,000 Russians from
A map on Spandex, Russia’s largest search engine, showed the protests scheduled for Saturday in around 100 cities around the country, with links to details for each event on a Russian social networking site.
Placards denounced "False elections, false laws, false authorities” and protesters shouted “rogues and thieves give us back our elections”, and called for a “
Their five-point demands are:
- Freedom for political prisoners
- Annulment of the election results
- The resignation of Vladimir Churov, head of the election commission, and an official investigation of vote fraud
- Registration of the opposition parties and new democratic legislation on parties and elections
- New democratic and open elections.
The demonstrators defied pre-emptive strikes by the regime, which saw the arrest last week of opposition leaders like blogger Alexei Navalny, Solidarnost leader Ilya Nashin, Eduard Limonov of the unregistered Other Russia party and Oleg Orlov of the Memorial human rights group. In
Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks by Putin’s “cyber-warriors” also focused on preventing
President Medvedev has announced an inquiry into voting procedures on his Facebook page, while rejecting a re-run of the election, the central demand of the protests. He was met with an immediate and often mocking response by people saying they did not believe him.
The protests are the largest since the turmoil in August 1990 when thousands took to the streets of
Since replacing Boris Yeltsin, ex-KGB chief Vladimir Putin has reversed the democratic gains promoted by Gorbachev to enable an oligarchy to establish capitalism in
From a massive majority in earlier elections, support for Putin and his United Russia party has fallen to an all-time low, especially as the global economy has swung into a downturn. On Friday, shares in Russian companies saw massive drops as investors fear continuing political instability, as well as lower demands for oil.
One school of thought claims the Russian democratic movement is funded and inspired from
But to denounce those angry with the Russian political system as pawns of the West is ludicrous and insulting. As one demonstrator said: “I don't think any citizen of the country can say he is very happy with anything. We don't have an independent judiciary, there is no freedom of expression – all this combined creates a situation where people are forced to protest.”
A World to Win secretary