Protests in Siberia after governor's arrest
In the East Siberian city of Khabarovsk tens of thousands of people protested on the weekend against the arrest of regional governor Sergei Furgal on charges of ordering two contract killings in 2005. Spontaneous protests in support of Furgal and against the Kremlin also took place in other cities. What is behind this strong reaction to the arrest of the politician from the far-right LDPR?
Moscow getting further and further away
The protests are about more than the arrest of the popular governor, journalist Victor Shenderovich writes on gordonua.com:
“The people of Khabarovsk have taken to the streets. For Furgal? No, for themselves. Because with the arrest of the governor they elected, Moscow has given them a slap in the face. The situation is tragicomic. Furgal is not Havel. But such details won't stop them from focusing on more important things. ... The people of Khabarovsk are just great. Take a look at the local police. They're in no hurry to arrest anyone, to say nothing of beating them with truncheons. … Moscow is a long way off, and it's getting more distant with every passing day.”
Russia's Far East feels foresaken
For Vedomosti, the popular uprising is a result of the crisis in the eastern Siberian province:
“The population of the area decreased by 18,500 last year alone. Many of the young people have never been to Moscow. The gas from Sakhalin, which is piped through the region, has to be paid for in dollars. Furgal's election victory in 2018 was a result of this critical development. … When the Bolsheviks proclaimed the independent Far Eastern Republic in the 1920s, they took into account the regional specifics and interests. Two years later, the republic peacefully became part of the Soviet Union - a process that entailed bloodshed in other areas. Moscow's crude centralism is once again endangering the country's cohesion.”