The captain believes that the activities of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny are causing concern for the Russian authorities. He said last weekend’s protests in Russia were the largest in a decade.
According to him, at first it seemed that the protests could be relatively small and insignificant, but what happened on Saturday was an unexpected surprise for both the Russian authorities and the rest of the world, because the protests were relatively quite massive.
Captain explained that after a long time, at least 110,000 people took part in the protests. However, there are also differences of opinion that against the total population of 144 million in Russia, the number of protesters is not too large.
“According to various estimates, about 40,000 protesters gathered in Moscow, which shows that these are the largest protests that have taken place in the capital in the last almost ten years,” said a lecturer at Vidzeme University College.
The foreign expert noted that the protests had been quite unpleasant for the Russian authorities, as the official statements were preceded by the fact that the leader of the Russian opposition, Alexei Navalny, as a “minor blogger” did not receive much attention. However, it was his return and detention that facilitated these protests, the expert stressed.
According to Captain, Navalny and his associates “hit the top ten” by distributing the film “Putin’s Castle”. Although it is not known at this time whether it is really the personal palace of Russian President Putin, such strong suspicions have been expressed and the material is quite personally aimed at the Russian leader, Kapustan explained.
“Navalni called Putin an ‘old man in a bunker.’ It is already very personal, “emphasized the lecturer of Vidzeme University College.
According to the foreign expert, one should not think at the moment that Putin’s power has collapsed and that big changes could take place soon. According to him, so far there is no evidence of this. The protests on the scale of Russia are not so great and in our neighboring country, as in Belarus, the power structures are very strong, Kapustan emphasized.
He also added that several Western investigative services investigating Navalny’s poisoning analyzes had acknowledged that the poisoning had indeed taken place and that perhaps only the swift action of the aircraft pilot and the precise actions of the doctors had rescued the Russian opposition leader.
Captain also said Navalny’s comrades were calling for the next protest this weekend. According to the foreign expert, there are no signs yet that these protests could be bigger than those that have already taken place.
He drew attention to the fact that the protests were attended by a large number of young people who had grown up and lived only in Russia during Putin’s time. Similar trends were observed in Belarus, where the generation that grew up under the regime of the authoritarian leader of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, took to the streets.
The lecturer of Vidzeme University College also noted that Putin has had periods when he has successfully managed to promote his personal popularity, for example, with the rapid annexation of Crimea to Russia, with the grandiose events of May 9. In Captain’s view, it may serve the regime for some time, but not forever.
“I think that in everyday life some Russians see that they live worse than people in the West. Not everyone supports the fact that people can be reckoned with without trial and severely beaten. I think many people are not ready to take to the streets yet, knowing that they can whipped hard, “said Capustan.
Asked what other parallels there are between the protests in Russia and Belarus, a lecturer at Vidzeme University College pointed out that the Belarusian authorities used brutal force much more strongly, because it is no secret that several people who took part in the protests were killed. In his opinion, in Russia, as a very large country, it is much more difficult to achieve change, in the case of Belarus, for a while it seemed that the power could still collapse.
“If the protesters in Belarus last year wanted to achieve something, they had to be ready to go to the whole bank! That means a certain number of people should be ready to give up even their lives, perhaps only then the situation could change. If no such radical steps are taken, then “It is quite likely that a lot of things will remain old in Belarus,” said the foreign expert.
Speaking about whether the protests in Russia could move as fast as they began, Kapustan pointed out that the Navalny team’s film “Putin’s Castle” has aroused great public interest and may lead to people’s feelings of dissatisfaction in the long run. However, he does not think that the situation is very radical and tense at the moment.
“If, for example, the Belarusians experienced the blatantly stolen results of the presidential election, then nothing so dramatic has happened in Russia. However, these protests are not pleasant for the Russian president and serve as a kind of alarm – he has built his one day, the Navalny movie is shattered, “said Capustan.