Thousands Rally Against Putin

The Russian people want that ‘perestroika’ promised by their leadership when communism died.

Russian police broke up an opposition demonstration in Moscow on Saturday, one of around 50 rallies across the country with thousands protesting falling living standards under Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

A coalition of opposition groups declared a national “Day of Anger” with nationwide rallies tapping into anger which has been rising since the economic crisis hit. The protests mixed local issues with anger at the federal government.

Opposition groups have been heartened by unusually large rallies in recent months. But riven by division they were unable to match the 10,000 people who gathered for a January rally in the western city of Kaliningrad, one of the largest in a decade.

“The mood has changed, but it has not yet turned into a movement,” said Masha Lipman, an analyst with the Carnegie Moscow Center think-tank. But for the micro-managers in the Kremlin “the stakes are extremely high,” she said.

At least 1,500 people turned out in the Pacific port of Vladivostok, raising their hands to support a motion to dismiss Putin’s government. Around 1,000 rallied in Saint Petersburg and hundreds gathered in several other cities.

“People have no work and they are fed up,” said Ivan Fotodtov, 26, a Vladivostok web designer who braved snow to protest rising bills cutting into his stagnant wages.

From a previous post:

For awhile, it looked as if there might be real glasnost and perestroika the former USSR. Instead, the economy and government are still rife with corruption, the Russian Mafia is thriving, Putin has cracked down on free speech and the media, and nationalized corporate entities and oil companies. Funds and technology from the West have yet to be used for real advancement into the 21st Century.

Putin is an old KGB operative and Communist Party apparatchik. Old habits die hard. He wants to revert back to a system he’s more comfortable with, but I don’t think the Russian masses will comply. The tragic thing about Russia is that even though it’s been given the opportunity to change from a totalitarian gulag, it still retains the same attitudes and sluggish traits.

Welcome to the new Soviet Russia.

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