Russian Maidan? Moscow group invites fellow citizens to unite against “totalitarian monster”

2015/02/10 • Russia

They are ordinary Russian citizens living in Moscow: an English teacher, an engineer, an economist. For several weeks already they gather on Manezhnaya Ploshchad in Moscow to exchange contacts and to think up a way to change Russia. “We are all citizens of Russia, the country where we were born, and which we love, but which turned into a totalitarian monster,” they say in a video they recorded for their fellow citizens, whom they hope to get involved in changing their country.

“A country that is not free can’t have a good healthcare system, strong education, developed economy. It is a country where people do not work and do not develop. They emigrate.” Why is Russia not free? The arrests of the friends of the group are telling: three years spent in a colony for protesting the construction of a VI{P summer house in a nature reserve, five years for holding a sign at a protest, arrests for posts on social media, dozens of people arrested for supporting Nadiya Savchenko, the Ukrainian pilot illegally kidnapped and jailed in Russia. The most recent case of Russia’s repression of civic liberties is the case of Svetlana Davydova, the mother that is being accused of treason for saying what everybody knew already: Russian troops are in Ukraine.

Their numbers gradually grow, as the video is being avidly shared in social media. The movement’s organizer, Evgeniy Levkovich, in an interview to OpenRussia said that they want to create  a mass civic, non-partisan and non-ideological opposition movement because they are tired of waiting. “First we waited for fair elections. Then we waited for mass protests to bring authorities to their senses. Then we waited for Navalny. Then, for the “coordination council of the opposition.” Then we waited for Putin to react to Bolotnaya ploshchad. […] And the results – war with Ukraine, criminal cases against opposition figures participating in single pickets and a de-facto ban on dissent. We have nothing and nobody to wait for, we are almost living in a country that Orwell described in his anti-utopia Nineteen Eighty Four. It seems that we have to take up the responsibility. The end goal, once again, is to create a mass movement, to cancel all the repressive laws adopted by the Duma, and to ensure the compliance with the Constitution.”

It all began on 18 January 2015, when the group’s friend Mark Galperin was arrested for holding a placard “Je Suis Charlie.” In Russia, only solitary pickets with placards are permitted without prior registration. At a certain moment, a provocateur with a sheet of white paper stood next to Mark. His protest ceased to be solitary, he was arrested and is now facing up to five years in prison. This arrest signalled that it’s time to start moving, in order to not betray their friend. And they will continue to gather on the square until their aim is achieved, at the very least – until their friends are released from prison.

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  • Dirk Smith

    Inevitable. Coming this spring.

    • Mykola Potytorsky

      i hope you are right

    • Milton Devonair

      Spring is in the air……

      Who knows, russians may be finally free.
      Iranians may finally be free.
      Cubans may finally be free.

      Only russians can save russia.

  • Brent

    Let it begin. Russians protested Putin in 2012 for running again, so there is dissent. Now with their economy on the brink of ruin, it will accelerate.

    • Jens A

      I hope you are right, but I am suspecting that most Russians are afraid and becoming more and more apathetic. Let us hope that the middle class created by Putin, are the ones that in the end will topple him. They are the ones that have the most to loose.

      • Czech Friend

        many of them left Russia because of Putin, yet many of them now support Putin in private at least-Russian logic.

  • Handyman1

    Very courageous but I am afraid that they have little chance ! Most of them will most likely be arrested soon.

    There certainly is a class of European thinking people in Russia, mostly educated people. Estimates are that this group is at most 20% of the population. But most of the rest are typical Russian thinkers: They believe in the strong personal leader, nationalism, moral conservativism etc. Among them Putin will stay popular for quiet some time I am afraid.

    By the way what do these people think of the war in Ukraine ? Should Russia withdraw all military aid to the separatists even if they are attacked by the only legitimate military force in Donbass namely the Ukrainian army ? And what about Crimea ?

    I mean, if it is only about their freedom and their justice and not about the freedom and justice for Ukraine than it is still nice and courageous that they do all this but they still won’t make me so very enthusiastic.

  • Lilianna Juhasz

    Moscow Spring?

  • Richard Hoover

    Russians keep protesting against Putin and the Duma ,,masses rise!!! Russia is a dirty toxic balloon that needs deflating,,,,and revitalized with higher intelligence and peaceful humans at the helm.

  • Czech Friend

    Why is US and EU not openly supporting pro-democratic regime change in Kremlin? What are they going to lose apart from deals with Putin’s mafia?

    Open and consistent declaration of fascist regime change from the West would make Putler definately weaker in the long term and it is the only moral and logical thing to say!

    There can be no peace and no deals with mad criminal.

  • edward

    I pray for they’re safety. People who speak out against the regime,usually get “PUTIN” jail.

  • edward

    The regime MUST go!

  • Czech Friend

    If Kremlin’s mafia only has a Great Russia and its fascist AntiWestern ideology left it will go down like a house of cards. Every totalitarian regime crumbles when the money’s gone.

  • Janet Billson

    Brave people standing up for freedom!