State Duma Initiatives and the Political Situation in Russia

Experts – on the next documents, consistently approved by the deputies

The State Duma of the Russian Federation on Wednesday approved in the first reading two bills aimed at toughening the rules for holding rallies and single picketing.
In accordance with one document, it is proposed to prohibit the financing of mass public events from foreign sources, mandatory financial reporting is introduced for their organizers, and donors will have to disclose their personal data when transferring funds. In addition, the authorities will have the right, if there is a threat of an emergency or terrorist attack, to postpone or completely cancel any actions. Thus, in the long term, in order to disrupt the event, one call to the police about the “mines” planted at the place of the rally will be enough.
Another legislative initiative actually equates the so-called picket lines (when people alternate one after another at a certain time interval, passing from hand to hand a thematic poster) with rallies. It is forbidden to hold rallies outside the buildings of emergency services (including the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the FSB), and a number of restrictions are imposed on journalists covering protest actions.
Both documents were initiated by a representative of the United Russia faction.
Andrey Kolesnikov: “The logic of the development of totalitarian regimes is such that it is impossible to stop the prohibitive-repressive machine”
Andrei Kolesnikov, head of the Russian Domestic Politics and Political Institutions program at the Carnegie Moscow Center, states that lawmakers follow the events taking place in the country. In his opinion, protest activity in Russia may not statistically increase too much, but it is becoming more intense, competent and diverse..
“This is forcing the authorities to come up with new bans,” he explained in an interview with the Voice of America Russian Service. – For example, recently “picket lines” have become popular. And since this form of protest works and there is nothing to oppose it, it should be banned. “.
At the same time, the expert does not believe that the current wave of bills is explained by a single general plan of the authorities. In his opinion, this is only a response to the realities faced by the state machine..
“Despite the fact that it is very difficult to predict protest activity, you need to be prepared for it,” says Kolesnikov. – Accordingly, the legislation is being tightened, limiting the possibilities of opposition organizations and the protest potential in general. Plus, of course, preparations are underway for the upcoming parliamentary elections. The Kremlin traditionally takes them quite seriously “.
The Belarusian example also became an incentive for the Russian authorities to think about how they would react to a similar type of protests – large-scale and having a purely political basis, the expert continues. At the same time, in his opinion, the current legislative trend can provoke additional conflicts in the country..
“Because civil society will not go somewhere to“ winter quarters ”, it remains in the field,” Kolesnikov recalls. – But the logic of the development of totalitarian regimes is such that it is impossible to stop the prohibitive-repressive machine. Such regimes do not make concessions, relax rules, or engage in dialogue with civil society. They are preparing for almost exclusively repressive scenarios. “.
Boris Kagarlitsky: “The reasons for what is happening lie in the fact that the authorities are in a state of panic”
To Boris Kagarlitsky, Director of the Institute of Globalization and Social Movements, today’s activity of the deputy corps reminded the story of the end of the previous State Duma, which launched the so-called mad printer before the next elections, putting the initiation of various “crazy bills” on stream. According to Kagarlitsky, it turned out that, by and large, nothing depends on the composition of the lower chamber, and the deputies are ready to do whatever they want..
“The reasons for what is happening lie in the fact that the authorities are in a state of panic, – says the interlocutor of the Russian service of the Voice of America. – Because its actions, as well as legislative initiatives, are simply inadequate. They are inadequate neither to the living conditions of modern society, nor common sense, nor constitutional norms – even those that remained in the country after the amendments made to the Basic Law. Otherwise, their behavior cannot be explained. “.

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The ruling circles feel that not just irritation is accumulating in society, but already hatred of them, the sociologist emphasizes: “At the same time, a very strange situation has arisen, when, on the one hand, tension in society has reached a certain limit, and on the other, nothing is changing in the country. Strictly speaking, this situation is probably even worse and more frightening than if there were any performances. In the eyes of the authorities, almost any resident of Russia looks like a potential enemy, ready, as they say, to put a knife in the back ”.
Therefore, they are trying by all means to protect themselves from the population of their own country, Boris Kagarlitsky is convinced. Moreover, from his point of view, it is impossible to tighten the nuts endlessly.
“It is quite possible that the government itself will break down, following the path of collective suicide on the basis of a general neurosis. This looks like the most likely option right now. Naturally, no one can predict when and how this will happen, and this is what causes the greatest concern, ”says the director of the Institute for Globalization and Social Movements.

  • Victor Vladimirov

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