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Oleg Kozlovsky: &# 171; Being a Protest Movement Activist Will Become More Dangerous&# 187;
At the same time, he does not think that difficulties will stop the Russians.
Civil activist Oleg Kozlovsky believes that due to the “tightening of the screws” by the Russian authorities, the life of the participants in the protest movement in Russia will become “more difficult and risky”. At the same time, he adds: this will not stop them..
Commenting on the searches in the offices of Russian NGOs for the Russian service of the Voice of America, Kozlovsky, who is doing research these days at George Washington University in the American capital, noted that the Russian authorities “can go even further – for example, completely prohibit funding of human rights organizations from abroad or, following the American funds, get rid of European ones as well “.
“Nevertheless, I am quite confident that civil activists in Russia will find a way out of this situation – I don’t think they will stop doing this,” he added..
Speaking at an event at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University, Kozlovsky outlined the obstacles facing the protest movement in Russia.
“The first problem inherent in any social movement – it brings people with different agendas, conflicts begin between moderate activists and radicals – moreover, they differ in everything, from their vision of the ultimate goal of the movement and ending with the means to achieve this goal, – he said … – Moderates are interested in gradual changes, limited reforms, in negotiations, in compromise. Radicals demand a change of regime, open conflict, mass protests, increased pressure on the authorities “.
According to the activist and analyst, neither one nor the other is strong enough today to bring about major changes – lead to a regime change or force him to agree. “The opportunity to negotiate was closed by March 2012”.
An additional condition for change, according to Kozlovsky, is a split in the ruling elites. But the protest movement has been slow to welcome the defectors with open arms. According to him, TV presenter Ksenia Sobchak and former magistrate Yulia Sazonova have earned the trust of the protest movement, while Mikhail Prokhorov and Alexei Kudrin are still looked at with suspicion:
“Often "deserters" come when the game is over – that’s why "early defectors" are valued more when they can still affect the balance of power. Everyone in the movement agrees with the assessment that for peaceful political change it is necessary to know whether the army and the police will be ready to obey any order. “.
The Russians do not want revolutions, they do not want a civil war. For the movement to succeed, it is necessary to help the regions to raise their protest movements – parallel to civil society
Oleg Kozlovsky, civil activist
Kozlovsky believes that the Opposition Coordinating Council, which has existed since October 2012, has opened a new page for the previously chaotic movement, “but has not yet proved its effectiveness.” Another problem of the opposition is that the movement is beginning to lose regions, and 78% of the members of the same Council are Muscovites.
According to him, due to total pessimism and disbelief that changes are real (about a quarter of activists, going to rallies, admitted that they did not believe in the possibility of making changes), the movement may try to set more precise, realistic goals. “Putin was forced to launch his anti-corruption campaign – to some extent this is a reflection of the demands of the movement, so this can be called a small victory,” he notes..
The radicalization of the movement, in his opinion, would be a mistake – it was the provocation that allowed the authorities to find an excuse to start “tightening the screws”. “The Russians do not want revolutions, they do not want a civil war,” he stressed. “For the movement to succeed, it is necessary to help the regions to raise their protest movements – parallel to civil society.”.
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