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Russian Protests in Late 2011-First Half of 2012: Demand for Democracization of Political Institutions

русская версия

Опубликовано на портале: 12-10-2012
Тематический раздел:
The author scrutinizes the logic and dynamics of mass protests in Russian capital and major cities in end of 2011 and the first half of 2012 drawing on the results of public opinion polls conducted by the Levada-Center (All-Russia and Moscow surveys, and two surveys of participants of opposition rallies in Moscow), and on the initial analysis of several dozen in-depth interviews with organizers and leaders of the protest movement. Survey data help to paint a portrait of an active
minority – wealthy residents of large Russian cities  – which has organized in their opposition to the election results and authoritarian character of the political system. Comparison with previous electoral campaign allows describing the new context in which the expression of mass resentment became possible. The parallel with the Russian protests of 2005-2010 shows that over the years some experience of working together has accumulated, various repertoire of collective action were tested, and the environment for the politicization of various civic associations has developed. Analysis of the events suggests that resentment was increased
by the overall situation of uncertainty and a string of election scandals. It resulted first in the protest vote, increased attention to the election results and
the work of election observers, and finally in mass rallies. The organized actions of the opposition-minded minority of the population, the mobilization of
supporters of current regime, and rallies organized by the Russian Orthodox Church, can be interpreted as the gradual mobilization of the various social groups
of Russian society. This signalizes the demand for representation and coordination of different group interests, the need for modernization of state
institutions. The democratization has for once a chance to become the right instrument to ensure political order.
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