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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
The development of the protest movement in Russia in 2005–11is considered from a perspective of modern political science. The author substantiates the thesis that when analyzing the protest movement, one should proceed not from the number of people participating in the events, but from the frequency and prevalence of actions, and relates that the protest movement in Russia was intense even before the mass protests of December 2011. The task of the work presented in the article was to understand what were the origins of the “new Russian protest”, then to formulate general principles that would adequately interpret it and predict the trends of its further development. The protest movement is seen as a form of civic participation that compensates for the weakness of communication institutions and in this sense is useful to inform authorities about the problems of citizens and to protect the usurped rights. Frequent protest actions denote the existence of certain contradictions in the social system and show active citizens ready to somehow seek the resolution of these contradictions. The analysis of the protest movement suggests that the “awakening of civil society” began much earlier than December 2011. Active citizens participated in this process. Unlike the metropolitan “disaffected”, confined to common slogans, the regional protesters almost always put forward specific demands and demonstrated readiness for dialogue with the authorities. It seems that the main reason for the growth of the protest potential was the unsatisfactory work of legal institutions of communication between the state and society throughout the 2000s. The most active citizens sought to convey their demands to the authorities, force them to dialogue through protest actions. However, the authorities, ignoring them, or creating obstacles in their conduct, evaded the dialogue, forcing activists to join a more active struggle, which is already of a political nature. We can assume that the metropolitan’s “protest for the sake of protest” is likely to decline, and the “protest of demands” that originated much earlier will, on the contrary, become more active.
protest, mass actions, civil society, political communications, civil disobedience
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