Action of supporters of Navalny and demarche of the Russian Foreign Ministry

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Experts on what is really behind the recent protests in Russia&# 160;

The all-Russian rally held on Saturday in solidarity with opposition politician Alexei Navalny became one of the most massive in the country’s recent history. According to media reports, it was held in 125 cities, and, according to various sources, from more than a hundred to 250 thousand people took part in it..

According to OVD-info, more than 3,700 people were detained during the protest events, which also became an anti-record for post-Soviet Russia. Among those arrested are 195 minors and 49 journalists. At least 28 people were injured. More details about the action here.

Meanwhile, the press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov, commenting on Saturday’s rally, said that few people came to it, especially in comparison with how many people vote for Vladimir Putin.

In turn, as the official representative of the Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova said on the First Channel, US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan was summoned to the Foreign Ministry, where he was lodged with a protest. The dissatisfaction of the Russian side was caused by a notification published on the website of the Embassy, ​​which dealt with street actions planned for January 23 in support of Navalny..

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Moscow’s demarche and Washington’s response

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It indicated the plans of the organizers of the protests in 12 cities, including Moscow. The text noted that rallies were not permitted by the authorities and encouraged US citizens to avoid demonstration sites or related events..

The embassy recommended that Americans be careful these days, inform their loved ones about the possible danger and carry a passport with a Russian visa..

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s demarche towards the US Embassy fits well with the Kremlin’s anti-American propaganda that has become habitual in recent years, experts interviewed by the Russian service of the Voice of America say.

Andrey Kolesnikov: “The Foreign Ministry should have contributed to the general hysteria”

Andrei Kolesnikov, head of the Russian Domestic Politics and Political Institutions program at the Carnegie Moscow Center, noted that the statement by the Russian diplomatic service was dictated by the desire to present the case as if the protests across the country were inspired by Washington. According to the political scientist, otherwise it is impossible for the authorities to explain where the country’s civil society got such a super-mobilization of forces..

“There is absolutely nothing to do with Washington, of course,” he added. “But the Foreign Ministry has its own logic: since Victoria Nuland (a high-ranking State Department official under Barack Obama and Joe Biden – V.V.) allegedly organized the Maidan in Kiev, why should the American embassy not then organize the Maidan in Moscow?”

However, nothing new was invented on Smolenskaya Square, Andrei Kolesnikov stated: “Similar accusations have already been made during previous protests, when the American Embassy acted in the same way, trying to save its employees and fellow citizens from visiting dangerous places. Moreover, this is a normal practice for the US embassies in all countries. But it is clear that the Foreign Ministry was in no way satisfied with such an explanation. So this is, as it were, “20 kopecks” of the department in the common treasury of the fight against an external foe, “enemies of the nation” of all stripes, Navalny and the State Department allegedly behind him. The diplomats here, as they say, could not pass by. The work is like that “.

The situation is undoubtedly absurd, indecent and unethical, emphasized the head of the Russian Domestic Politics and Political Institutions program at the Carnegie Moscow Center..

“The Foreign Ministry should have contributed to the general hysteria and did it, but it was extremely unconvincing. It looks just ridiculous. I think even the biggest fans of the conspiracy theory are now disappointed, “the political scientist summed up.

Alexey Roshchin: “The Foreign Ministry’s statement was made out of despair”

The social psychologist Alexei Roshchin called the Foreign Ministry’s statement “typical nonsense”, to which few people in the country are seriously paying attention. In addition, according to the psychologist, the demarche of the diplomatic service is offensive for the Russian people, who, without a call from outside, allegedly cannot take to the streets to express their opinion.

“The Foreign Ministry ascribes some absolutely incredible organizational capabilities to the embassy,” he says. – In addition, such a declaration raises a number of questions. If the diplomatic mission of a foreign power is capable of gathering so many people for a protest rally in support of Navalny and against Putin, then what is the Russian government and all its army doing? .. I think the Foreign Ministry’s statement was made out of despair. “.

Most likely, none of the Kremlin’s propagandists will pick up the thesis of Russian diplomats, because it sounds somehow too self-critical, suggested Alexei Roshchin.

“Yes, everyone is accustomed to the fact that America is behind all the misfortunes of Russia, starting with the state of toilets along the highways. But earlier, this idea was introduced into the minds of people a little more subtly, in the shadow of talk about paid agents of influence, that is, American spies. Then, at least, there was at least some kind of logic. And now everything is presented as if the US Embassy were an alternative government in Russia. Which, of course, sounds very offensive for real Russian patriots, ”the psychologist concluded..

Fedor Krasheninnikov: “This is undoubtedly the most successful action possible in the entire modern history of Russia”

Political analyst Fyodor Krasheninnikov believes that it is too early to sum up the results of Saturday’s rally in support of Navalny. Because, in his opinion, this is not the end, but only the beginning of the protests.

“The action is clearly not the last one,” he said. “Prepared very quickly, almost impromptu, it aroused great enthusiasm among people all over Russia. And this despite the fact that, for example, in Siberia and the Urals there were very severe frosts. In some regions, the temperature dropped below 20, 30, or even 50 degrees “.

The political scientist also noted that the action was very large-scale in terms of the number of cities that took part in it: “This has never happened before. Therefore, this is undoubtedly the most successful action possible in the entire modern history of Russia. And it is definitely not complete. I think that next Sunday everything will be much more interesting “.

On the eve, the head of the network of regional headquarters of Alexei Navalny, Leonid Volkov, announced the holding of new actions in support of the opposition leader in custody. Protests are scheduled for January 31.

But this will not be the last action, because the authorities obviously do not meet the demands of the people, but continues to insist on their own, Fyodor Krasheninnikov is convinced. At the same time, it seems to him that the main surprise for the Kremlin was the massive scale of demonstrations in small Russian cities..

“This comes from the fact that the authorities have long been living in a parallel universe, which they invented for themselves. In this universe, everyone loves Putin, and only spies, US hirelings are dissatisfied with him, ”the political scientist summed up.

  • Russian service &# 171; Voices of America&# 187;

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  • Valeria Jegisman

    Journalist «Voices of America». Prior to that, she worked for international non-governmental organizations in Washington and London, in the Russian-language version of the Estonian daily newspaper “Postimees” and as a spokesman for the Estonian Ministry of Internal Affairs. Interests – international relations, politics, economics

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