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After the largest street protests in years, Russia’s opposition asks what’s next?

Chris Brown · CBC News · Posted: Sep 09, 2019 4:00 AM ET

“Society itself is very frustrated,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, a non-resident scholar at Moscow’s Carnegie Centre.

We don’t have [political] campaigns — the effort of the Kremlin to move forward new ideas is dead– Tatiana Stanovaya, Carnegie Centre

“I think the Kremlin has underestimated the risk coming from the opposition and the protests,” said Stanovaya, who also heads R.Politik, a Paris-based think-tank that studies Russian society.

After almost 20 years with Vladimir Putin at the top of Russia’s government, political stagnation has set in, she says. The protests are a clear indication of the appetite for change.

And prosecutors tried to strip two couples of their parental rights for bringing their toddlers to the anti-government rallies.

Stanovaya says she fears such heavy-handed tactics are bound to become more commonplace. “This is the only instrument they have [left],” she said, referring to the Putin administration. “They are not ready to build dialogue with liberals or the progressive class, so the only instrument they have is the security services.”

“People know how to organize around a cause when they see one, but there is no permanent political force left behind —not in terms of a political movement or a party or structures, or even political demands,” says Lipman.

Still, Tatiana Stanovaya says the current discontent in Russian society right now is “flammable” and she doubts it will take much of a spark to ignite things again. “I think the next campaign will be rather challenging for the Kremlin.”

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