Khabarovsk – Moscow: the opinion of American experts

Moscow and the U.S. President

Khabarovsk - Moscow: the opinion of American experts

The resignation of the governor of the Khabarovsk Territory is only a pretext for protests, the main reason is the growing dissatisfaction with the policy of the Russian leader

The protests in Khabarovsk, according to American experts, testify to the civic consciousness of people living in the regions. For the 13th day after the arrest of the Governor of the Khabarovsk Territory Sergei Furgal, protests in the city of the Far East do not subside.

Senior Director of the Biden Center at the University of Pennsylvania, Michael Carpenter, in an interview with the Russian service of the Voice of America, stressed that what is happening in Khabarovsk is important precisely because the protests are taking place not in Moscow, but in the region.

“People are unhappy that the authorities in Moscow, thousands of kilometers away, make decisions for them and appoint a person not from their land to manage the region, their local affairs. They are fed up and demand a change.

I do not think that these protests will go beyond Khabarovsk, but they demonstrate that there is civic consciousness in the hinterland – outside of Moscow, St. Petersburg and other large cities. People really feel that their rights are being violated when such decisions are made for them, ”said Michael Carpenter.

The senior director of the Penn Biden Center compared the current situation in Khabarovsk to “the agreement between Putin and Medvedev in 2011”.

“Then it also angered people for a good reason. Once again, the Kremlin made a decision for them, “added Carpenter..

Dissatisfaction of Khabarovsk residents with Moscow

Expert of the Hudson Institute David Sutter (David Satter) called what is happening in Khabarovsk a manifestation of local discontent that Moscow ignored their opinion:

“Moscow admits that they can do what they want when it comes to a remote region like Khabarovsk. The Russian Far East is psychologically extremely remote from the rest of the country, and traditionally its inhabitants believe that they are being ignored and their rights are being abused. “.

Sutter admits that crimes committed 15 years ago are used against the governor of the Khabarovsk Territory:

“I have heard different versions – including the fact that they did not guarantee a sufficient turnout in the elections on the amendments to the constitution. This could very well be the reason, but there may be other reasons that we do not know about. “.

Secret negotiations

Author of the “Window to Eurasia” blog Paul Goble (Paul Goble) believes that the Russian authorities do not suppress the protests in the region, because they do not want to demonstrate that “protests can change something.”.

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“If they detained the protesters, it would have consequences that the Kremlin is trying to avoid. This would send a signal that the protests are much more serious than Moscow would like. In other words, by not arresting people, the authorities are not making people angry – which would have happened if hundreds of people were detained. And secondly, I think the Kremlin does not want to show that the protests can change something. That people on the street can force Moscow to enter into negotiations, if not directly, but indirectly. But in fact, Vladimir Putin went for it, appointing an official from the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia in the region, “- emphasized Goble.

According to the expert, President Putin erroneously assessed the motives of the protests in Khabarovsk and, as a result, appointed Acting Governor Mikhail Degtyarev, a representative of the LDPR:

“This is a concession from Moscow, but the decision was made based on a misunderstanding of what is really going on. People chose Furgal not because he represents the Liberal Democratic Party, but because he opposed Moscow. The fact that the authorities sent another LDPR politician to the region does not mean that the problem has been resolved..

And I think he will regret it again. If you represent a party in power and deprived a governor from another party of his position, you must keep this position for your party. And the current situation may allow the opposition, especially the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and the Liberal Democratic Party, to actively compete for governorships and consolidate the regions. And this can turn the systemic opposition into a real opposition party “.

  • Anush Avetisyan

    Since 2012 – producer and correspondent for the Russian Voice of America Service in Washington. Graduate of the Faculty of Journalism of the North Caucasus Federal University, focusing on social issues, women’s rights, politics and culture

    [email protected]

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