Sooner or later protests in Russia will grow into something serious, says LUDMILA ALEXEYEVA
The veteran rights activist and head of the Moscow Helsinki Group was commenting on the wave of protests on Monday, 12 June when more than 1,700 people across the country were detained by the police. Responding to a question from the Ukrainian ‘Observer’ (Obozrevatel) as to whether the protests would develop into something serious, she said:
“For the time being, no. But it’s noticeable how young the protesters are. A few years ago it was mostly older people who came to the rallies. Now it’s a mass of young people. The authorities are actively producing a generation of oppositionists.”
Asked when the protests might bring results, she replied, “I’m not an oracle, but Herzen once said that we need two free generations. Well, the first of these has already come of age.”
At the same time, Alexeyeva commented: “We have a proverb.
‘Russians take a long time to harness a horse, but they travel fast’.
Who in 1991 would have expected demonstrations outside the ‘White House’ in Moscow, the main building of the Russian government? No one. And that happened, by the way, in Moscow, not in Kiev.
“We are an unpredictable people but we shall have a European future even if we are presently going in the opposite direction.”
“That’s to say, the regime is moving in the opposite direction,” Ludmila Mikhailovna emphasized.
Translated by Mary McAuley
Published on 13 June 2017 by the Moscow Helsinki Group;
original, for the same day, in Оbozrevatel (Ukraine)