Evgeniya Chirikova: "Despite overwhelming apathy in parliamentary elections, at the grassroots level Russians from across the socio-economic spectrum have been quietly challenging the authorities"

posted 16 Nov 2016, 07:37 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 16 Nov 2016, 07:40 ]
"Russia’s opposition has been cowed, killed or forced into exile, parliament is servile and the media largely toothless. But despite overwhelming apathy in parliamentary elections, at the grassroots level Russians from across the socio-economic spectrum have been quietly challenging the authorities – and these challenges have become increasingly hard to suppress. [...] For the first time in history we are seeing angry Muscovites not just collecting signatures online but risking their lives and safety to take a stand. The growing strength of these civil movements means we can no longer say that Russian citizens are passive; they just don’t vote in elections because they don’t think their vote will change anything. But as the government continues to crack down on the independent NGOs that traditionally support grassroots movements the road ahead will not be smooth. Activists need to keep promoting the idea that citizens can no longer rely on the state to fix their problems; they need to keep fighting attempts by the government to smear them in the press and they must continue to encourage their fellow campaigner to local government positions, as three Khimki activists did successfully this September. It would then be possible for these grassroots groups to become the network that the Russian society can rely on, not a centralised state that only has the interests of the elites at heart."

- Evgeniya Chirikova, civil society activist
Source: Wikipedia

Source:
Evgeniya Chirikova, 'In Russia it is getting harder to ignore the grassroots movement,' The Guardian, 15 November 2016
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