Experts expect radicalization of protests in Russia

Political scientists believe that protests, which are expected to become more active in Russia in the fall, will change considerably after the withdrawal of right-wing liberals and the appearance of new parties, which will "erode" the protest electorate.

"On one hand, it seems to me that the protest movement will be more radical, more social, younger and more ready for direct actions. Although I think the current administration will not provoke these direct actions," Igor Bunin, president of the foundation Center for Political Technologies, told Interfax on Monday.

The expert said some members of the non-system opposition will leave the scene because they are oriented towards real participation in the election process. "Some politicians like Ryzhkov will be active on the political scene and will try to run in elections. Those who prefer street rallies, for example Nemtsov, Udaltsov, and Navalny, will continue using the street methods," Bunin said.

The expert believes the atmosphere of street protests is going to change. "The spirit of the protest movement is now different from December 2011. This spirit is more of a spirit of social conflict and is more radical. The leaders are different there. The right-wing liberal movement has become weak. Younger people, those who were born in the late 1980s, are now taking part in protests. The number of Yabloko supporters, which accounted for the majority in December-January, is declining," Bunin said.

Bunin believes the protesters' slogans are politically ineffective because they are obsolete, but there are no new slogans.

"I don't see any new slogans. They may stay the same, although they are obsolete and politically inefficient. They will apparently propose to make gubernatorial elections more democratic, a real reform of the Federation Council, etc.," the expert said.

The number of protesters should not be expected to increase, he said. "I think the number will stay the same, up to 50,000 people per protest. Udaltsov's plans to bring much more people are not feasible. However, the movement will not disappear anywhere and will continue," Bunin said.

Igor Yurgens, the head of the Institute for Modern development, believes the number of protest participants may increase if the economic situation in the country deteriorates sharply, which, however, is unlikely. "The number of protesters will depend on the economic situation. In my view, we now don't have a situation where a sharp deterioration can be expected, for example, a fall in the prices on our traditional exports," Yurgens told Interfax.

The number of opposition protesters may decrease considerable due to the activities by the new parties, the expert said. "New political parties have been formed, and they will be eroding this protest movement," he said.

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