Russia This Week is a weekly review by the MEMRI Russian Media Studies Project, surveying developing stories in Russian domestic affairs as presented in the Russian media.
Cartoon Of The Week
On the centenary of the Bolshevik revolution, the Russian news agency Ria.ru published the above cartoon.
Commenting on the news of the Maidan revolution, and the referendum in Catalonia, Vladimir Lenin dismissively says: "Kid stuff!"
(Source: Ria.ru, November 7, 2017)
In The News:
Protests In Russia
According to the Russian Center of Economic and Political Reforms (CEPR), Russia is witnessing a substantial growth of protest actions.
The press release of the Center states:
"CEPR presents a monitoring of protest actions and labor conflicts in Russia in July-September 2017. The number of protests has grown by 60% since the beginning of the year: from 142 in January-March to 447 in July-September.
"Between January-September 2017 a total number of 1.107 protests was registered.
"The major type of protest in January-September 2017 was a grassroots protest associated with specific social and economic problems such as delayed salaries, threats of mass layoffs, discontent with working conditions at enterprises, demands of defrauded real estate investors, eco-activists, animal rights activists etc.
"The number of labor conflicts has also increased. For example, the number of wage arrears cases in July-September 2017 was twice as large as the number or such cases in April-June and three times as large as in January-March.
"CEPR's monitoring revealed an inability by the authorities to resolve social conflicts systematically. The most widespread tactics used by the authorities in response to protests are ignoring protesters' demands, avoiding a dialogue and suppressing protest. It leads only to growing protest activity as the other methods of resolving people's problems are dysfunctional."
(Cepr.su, November 7, 2017)
Read the full CEPR's report: Protest activity in Russia in July-September 2017: 60% growth since the beginning of the year
Commenting on the report, Presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stated:
"In general, it's an election year – we have the presidential elections in five month. In any country in the world during this period there is a growth of social activity in general, there are more rallies/activities in support of the president and other activities by those, who react painfully on various processes or issues. So, this is a natural intensification, which each time accompanies an elections period".
(Tass.ru, November 7, 2017)
Meduza.io: 'Russian Police Detain Hundreds Of Protesters From A Banned Movement Committed To A New Revolution'
On November 5, 2017, a few days before the 1917 Revolution's centenary, the Moscow police detained 302 people committed to a new revolution. The independent media outlet Meduza.io reported: "According to the Interior Ministry, the individuals were in possession of cutting instruments, air guns, brass knuckles, masks, helmets, goggles, and aerosol cans containing flammable liquids.
"Several of the detained people also carried the symbols of 'Artpodgotovka,' a group founded by exiled Russian [former Duma deputy for Saratov region] Vyacheslav Maltsev that has been banned in Russia. Police have charged most of the detainees with disobeying officers, violating laws on public assemblies, and disorderly conduct. Thirteen parents are also being charged for their children’s actions, and three foreign citizens stand accused of breaking the rules of their stays in Russia.
"Throughout the country, police detained more than 400 Artpodgotovka protesters, including many minors. According to the website OVD-Info, some of the detainees were questioned about plans to commit terrorist attacks and stage riots.
"Vyacheslav Maltsev was arrested in absentia after fleeing Russia in July 2017. He is charged with inciting extremism. In October 2017, Russia banned his political movement as an extremist organization. Since 2013, Maltsev repeated many times that Russia would experience a revolution on November 5, 2017, calling on his supporters to occupy city centers across the country and refuse to disperse, until Vladimir Putin resigns the presidency."
(Meduza.io, November 6, 2017)
Read: Russian Blogger Promises Revolution On November 05 2017, Khodorkovsky.com, November 3, 2017.
Vyacheslav Maltsev (Source: Khodorkovsky.com)
Earlier, on November 3, the FSB detained four Artpodgotovka members. "The FSB located and stopped the activities of the underground Artpodgotovka movement, whose members plotted extremist actions for November 4-5, [including] organizing arsons of administrative buildings, where they planned using explosives, as well as attacks on the police to provoke mass disorders… In cooperation with the Interior Ministry, the FSB stopped Artpodgotovka's activities in the cities of Krasnoyarsk, Krasnodar, Kazan, Samara and Saratov," the FSB said.
(Tass.com, November 3, 2017)
1917 Bolshevik Revolution
On 7 November 2017, day of the centenary of the Russian revolution, Moscow decided not to celebrate the Bolshevik uprising. Instead, the Red Square hosted the Day of Military Honor Parade. The parade commemorates the 1941 November parade that marked the 24th anniversary of the 1917 Revolution, when soldiers participating in the parade went directly to the front to battle the German invaders in the battle for Moscow.
See Video: Russian Honor Parade, 7 November 2017.
See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7177, At The Opening Of Russia's Wall Of Grief, Patriarch Kirill Criticizes The Bolshevik Revolution On Its 100th Anniversary And Warns Against Fomenting New Revolutions, November 13, 2017.
See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7182, Duma Speaker Volodin: 'It Is Unacceptable To Romanticize Revolution', November 16, 2017.
See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7178, Russian Historian Pavlova: The Wall Of Grief Is 'A Symbol Of New Enslavement', November 14, 2017.
See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7180, Russian Intellectuals' Open Letters: 'Supporting The Hypocrisy Of The Authorities Is Immoral', November 15, 2017.
Politicizing Russian Youth
According to Echo of Moscow, the Russian government proposed to allocate 200 million rubles (3.5 million $) to the TASS news agency, in order to create a political news channel for the Russian youth.
The target audience of the new media outlet would be young people aged between 8-16 years old.
The authorities propose to allocate funds by cutting off the budgets provided earlier for high education and some non-commercial organizations. The financial amendments have been already introduced to the budget for the next fiscal year.
TASS confirmed to Echo that the new "youth" editorial newsroom will collect the most interesting and important Russian and international news items and present them in an easily intelligible form. TASS will also introduce a news-stream for children on its website.
(Echo.msk.ru, November 7, 2017)
Russia's Future Governors
According to Russian media outlet RBC, members of the Presidential Staff reserve, a framework that facilitates the selection up future high ranking officials for Russian administrative duties such as governorates, participated in military training exercises at one the fire ranges. The program was created by the Russian State University of Management and it presumes to identify the most promising candidates for high ranking positions within the government. Participants included members of the legislative branch and deputy ministers.
According to RBC sources the candidates participated in parachuting, firearms training with pistols and automatic rifles, working with military vehicles and throwing grenades. The highlight of the program was to lie down under a moving APC (armored personnel carrier) and stay beneath it until it passed. Some of the participants in the exercises sustained serious injuries.
(Rbc.ru, November 9, 2017)
News In Brief:
- Russian education officials launch an internal audit after a memo surfaces calling for the doxing of protesters. (Meduza.io, November 2, 2017; Read full article)
- A Moscow court registers Alexey Navalny's lawsuit against Putin (Meduza.io, November 3, 2017; Read full article)
- The European Court of Human Rights comes to the defense of detained anti-corruption demonstrators (Khodorkovsky.com, November 10, 2017; Read full article)
- Moscow Pokemon Go players detained in anti-revolution raids (Themoscowtimes.com, November 7, 2017; Read full article)
- Communist Leader Zyuganov Warns There Will Be Riots If Talk of Reburying Lenin Continues (Themoscowtimes.com, November 7, 2017; Read full article)
- Russian Communist Party Leader Zyuganov announces presidential bid (Themoscowtimes.com, November 7, 2017; Read full article)