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Kremlin accused of losing its touch as protests put Putin on back foot

Rallies over regional governor’s arrest leave Moscow looking unusually indecisive, say analysts

Henry Foy in Moscow JULY 29 2020

“The Kremlin has forgotten how to politically respond to issues like this. They are losing their ability to respond to societal discontent,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of political analysis firm R. Politik. Under Mr Putin, the government has sought to maintain a strong grip on regional administrations. Fifty-nine of Russia’s 85 local governors are from United Russia and only a handful of the remainder are true independents elected with genuine local support.
Analysts said that the local nature of the demonstrators’ demands meant the movement was more galvanised and determined than previous national protest campaigns against issues such as government corruption, and bore similarities to protests in Moscow last summer against the arrest of a journalist, who was later released. “Society is beginning to impose itself on the Kremlin,” said Ms Stanovaya, “rather than it being the other way around all the time”.

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