Organised opposition against Vladimir Putin’s régime grows slowly but steadily. What reaches the headlines is insignificant compared to what is actually going on throughout the country. Having heard a detailed description of the Fabian tactics pursued by Putin’s young opponents, one comes away impressed and then cheated by the absence of any coverage in the Western press.
The leading figure, Alexei Naval’ny, is frequently locked up for participating in demonstrations against the government, but the movement continues to extend its influence at local level on local issues in a way that escapes the attention of the world press. He was arrested early yesterday after having called for protesters to assemble at the town hall and is now hospitalised.
To hazard a guess, it is only a matter of time before all of these local skirmishes build into something much more formidable on a national scale. And the deteriorating state of the economy will no doubt give it a headwind.
Thousands joined protests for open elections to the Moscow state duma. Heading an opposition to the régime is a very risky enterprise, particularly in the capital, but it seems entirely possible at this stage that even the removal in some form of its leader to some remote incarceration would in the end change little.
One can recall the poem of the young Yevtushenko – not yet working for KGB – where he described the execution of “Humour” as a pointless exercise because, once beheaded, humour continued to laugh.
News of the latest demonstration yesterday, 27 July, can be found on OVD info, a website monitoring police action against protesters.