In December 2011, tens of thousands of Russians went to the streets of Moscow and other cities to protest fraud at recent parliamentary elections. This was a shock to the regime as well as the opposition even though both had long been preparing for mass demonstrations. The protests, though truly spontaneous and surprising, were by no means random. Instead, they were a result of gradual but radical changes in the Russian society due in no small part to contained but persistent political, social, and cultural activism and autonomous civic organizing of previous years. The regime responded with charges of propaganda and repression, which might have slowed down the resistance but did not suppress it. Facing a stalemate, the Russian protest movement now has to find new methods and tactics, increase its internal mobilization and outreach to other segments of the society and stay united. More from Oleg Kozlovsky:
Oleg Kozlovsky outlines seven challenges facing the Russian protest movement in 2013, including balancing moderates and radicals, reducing the influence of extremists and broadening its appeal outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg.