Sunday, December 14, 2008

Russia Unchanged, Peaceful Demonstration Stopped

More than 20 years after the "fall" of the Soviet empire it seems that Russia hasn't changed much. A small protest was forcefully disbanded by Russian police outside of the Kremlin and demonstrators were detained chanting "Russia without Putin!" as they were dragged off.

The demonstration, organized by the group The Other Russia and the former chess champion Garry Kasparov, is said to have more than 1,000 attendants.

Spokeswoman Marina Litvinovich said that approximately 130 protesters were detained by Russian police including 18 that tried to enter the Kremlin commenting, "Today we saw a police state and its methods...."

Lyudmila Morozova, 61, a nurse from the southern city of Voronezh, had planned to protest in Triumph Square but was put off by the massive police presence... said the ...the government was afraid "some kind of power will rise against them."

"I want my country to develop along a democratic path," said Morozova, standing against a wall at the edge of the square. "It's not only not democratic, it's becoming totalitarian." . . .

Popular support for Other Russia and other vocal opposition groups is minimal, but the Kremlin is wary about any evidence of public anger as its struggles with a potentially politically damaging economic downturn.

There has been little evidence of change in the government's heavy-handed treatment of critics since Dmitry Medvedev succeeded Putin as president in May and stressed the importance of civil rights in his inaugural address.

Protesters were demonstrating to voice their opposition regarding the Kremlin's move to amend Russia's constitution extending the presidential term from 4 years to 6 years.

One thing's for sure. Russia needs a more democratic government representation, but hopefully comrades aren't so eager for regime change in their own country that they're willing to trade true freedom for the gospel of Lenin and Marx.

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