New Navalny protests

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets on Wednesday to show solidarity with the imprisoned and seriously ill opposition leader Alexei Navalny. According to Human Rights Watch, less violence was used against the demonstrators this time than during previous protests. Commentators discuss whether the Navalny protests are losing momentum.

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Proekt (RU) /

The people are far too tolerant

Projekt laments the political apathy in Russia:

“If putting the life of the opposition leader at risk (or corruption, unfair elections or the stink of apathy) is not enough to drive millions of angry people onto the streets - what is? What is an absolute, unconditional value for us today that we simply cannot give up? What will society not allow the powers that be to do by making them fear millions of protesters? Is there anything that has real meaning for us? This is a difficult but extremely important question, to which Russian society should formulate an answer.”

Eesti Päevaleht (EE) /

Like back in the Brezhnev era

Andrei Shumakov, editor-in-chief of the Russian edition of the news website Delfi, shares a sense of déjà vu in Eesti Päevaleht:

“Today's Russia is increasingly reminiscent of the stagnation of the Soviet Union under Brezhnev. The president has his own politburo, which is little different from the Soviet one. A small circle whose messages are sent to the whole nation. This time even giant screens on skyscrapers were switched on. ... After local politician Ilya Yashin, who is close to Navalny, posted a photo of informants at the protests on Wednesday, another Soviet-era anecdote began circulating once again: 'A pessimist is walking down the street - behind him are two optimists in plain clothes'.”

Die Presse (AT) /

Opposition must change course

Navalny and his team should rethink their strategy, Die Presse says:

“For many years, Navalny has masterfully exploited the loopholes and flaws in Putin's system to do politics despite all the repression. But now he's sick in a prison camp, and his supporters also face long prison sentences. ... Putin's system allows no alternatives. ... There are a few unpleasant questions that Navalny's team should ask themselves. Is it time to think about a change of strategy? To adopt a more moderate course? To take a rest? Anyone who continues the fight in Russia now is either a clever madman - or a headless hero.”