Can an Internet poll save the Russian opposition?

Aug 15, 2012

Russian opposition leaders are hoping a nationwide, online poll will help the country’s disparate political groups coalesce into a movement big enough to take on President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia Party, according to Reuters.

On 7 October, Internet users will be asked to pick the 45 most popular opposition figures to form a coordinating council to plan and organize mass rallies.

Anti-Putin forces held a steady stream of well-attended and well-covered anti-Kremlin protests following both parliamentary elections in December and the presidential balloting in March, but the opposition has been unable so far to establish clear leaders or develop a unified voice.

“This opposition has been demoralized because it has not been taking part in competitive processes for a long time,” said anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny, according to Reuters.



While many government critics look to the Internet for political salvation, others are now just looking for a way out. Alexei Devyatkin, an activist with the Other Russia movement, is applying for political asylum in Ukraine with his wife, journalist Jenny Kurpen, RIA Novostireports, citing the human rights group Agora.

The two were among 400 people detained in the wake of a violent 6 May anti-Putin rally in Moscow and they fled Russia after their release. The couple says they fear criminal prosecution even though they were picked up by police 20 minutes from where the violence broke out.

About the Author

Transitions Online

Transitions Online ( is an Internet magazine that covers political, social, cultural, and economic issues in the former communist countries of Europe and Central Asia. The magazine has a strong network of local contributors, who provide valuable insight into events in the region’s 29 countries.
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