Protest Chart Top 10: Russia
For weeks, thousands of protesters have rallied in Russia against President Putin. Of the many issues plaguing Russia in recent days include Putin’s amendment to the constitution granting him essentially unlimited reign of power, the handling of the Covid-19 outbreak and the detention of Governor Sergei Furgal, who is facing potentially bogus murder charges.
By Adriane Cole
The Covid-19 infection rate in Russia is one of the highest in the world, with a daily infection rate of an estimated 5600 people and a relatively high level of recorded deaths from the disease. Even though the pandemic hit Russia later than other countries, infection rates and confirmed patients quickly rose across the nation.
Many have blamed the government’s poor management and the country’s weak healthcare system for this failed response. Russia’s lack of transparency and “doctoring” cause of death records are a symptom of a chronic and systematic form of ruling. However, when people are dying in the thousands, especially compromised and marginalized populations, then society tends to take notice and speak up.
As if this wasn’t enough, President Putin leveraged the government’s weakened state to take advantage of this situation and order amendments to the Russian constitution that would allow him to rule undisturbed for another 16 years, adding six years to his current term.
Even though Putin publicly stated that this was the will of the people, public outcry to the action demonstrated that this was not the case. However, this is not the only amendment added on the sly. In addition to extending Putin's reign, other religious “core values” will be implemented, such as outlawing same-sex marriages.
The last straw for the Russian people was the arrest of Khabarovsk Governor Furgal on alleged murder charges. He was charged with the several murders of businessmen, charges that predate his term in office. The people of his town took to the streets to protest what they deemed to be bogus and unsubstantiated charges against him and demanded that he be released from jail in Moscow.
According to protestors, people felt that their vote was invalidated and forcibly taken away. Local government officials haven’t suppressed these protests in the hope that they will just fade away; however, the sentiment of the demonstrations has spread, fusing with the dissatisfaction already felt by people in Russia.
It is obvious that Russians are highly dissatisfied with the leadership’s management of various issues, but considering the country’s track record, protests will most likely not be tolerated for long.