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World Anti-Kremlin demonstrations shake the Russian Far East

15:15  01 august  2020
15:15  01 august  2020 Source:   france24.com

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Huge anti -government demonstrations erupted in Russia 's Far East on Saturday over the arrest of a popular governor who was replaced this week by a Kremlin appointee who never lived in the fraught region. © Aleksandr YUFA Thousands rally in the far eastern Russian city of Khabarovsk in protests

Huge anti -government demonstrations erupted in Russia 's Far East on Saturday over the arrest of a popular governor who was replaced this week by a Kremlin appointee who never lived in the fraught region. © Aleksandr YUFA Thousands rally in the far eastern Russian city of Khabarovsk in protests

At the origin of this historic movement: the arrest on July 9 of the regional governor, Sergei Fourgal, 50, a former entrepreneur accused of murders committed 15 years over early, then sent to Moscow to be tried.

For many, this imprisonment aims to get rid of an overly independent politician, elected in 2018 against a candidate from Vladimir Putin's party.

"It's spitting in the face. We had chosen Fourgal!", Launches Marina Beletskaya, a 72-year-old pensioner.

Member of the ultranationalist LDPR party, generally loyal to the Kremlin, Sergei Fourgal proved to be an active and attentive governor. Enough to ensure him a popularity rivaling that of Vladimir Putin.

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Huge anti -government demonstrations erupted in Russia 's Far East on Saturday over the arrest of a popular governor who was replaced this week by a Kremlin appointee who never lived in the fraught region. © Aleksandr YUFA Thousands rally in the far eastern Russian city of Khabarovsk in protests

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"As soon as Fourgal was elected, the capital of the Russian Far East was transferred from here to Vladivostok. It is clearly because we had chosen an opponent", points out Viktoria Sakharova, 22, a saleswoman participating in demonstrations.

In this remote region, large like Turkey but populated by only 1.3 million inhabitants, the mobilization is indeed based on a tenacious resentment towards the federal authorities, considered contemptuous towards the distant provinces.

In addition, there are economic difficulties in this territory with a very harsh climate, bordering China and specializing in the metallurgical, mining and forestry industries.

Daily demonstrations

On July 25, they were tens of thousands of demonstrators according to media and activists, when the police counted only 6500. During the week, hundreds of diehards demonstrate every evening.

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Huge anti -government demonstrations erupted in Russia 's Far East on Saturday over the arrest of a popular governor who was replaced this week by a Kremlin appointee who never lived in the fraught region. © Aleksandr YUFA Thousands rally in the far eastern Russian city of Khabarovsk in protests

Huge anti -government demonstrations erupted in Russia 's Far East on Saturday over the arrest of a popular governor who was replaced this week by a Kremlin appointee who has never lived in the fraught region. Residents of Khabarovsk near the border with China took to the streets en masse for

The duration and scale of the mobilization are exceptional, especially since we are very far from Moscow, the traditional stronghold of the detractors of power.

If the public television channels largely ignore the protests, the more independent media do not hide a certain enthusiasm.

In a recent editorial, the Védomosti newspaper called Khabarovsk a "new symbol" of the opposition "of the regions to the center".

Discontent was also accompanied by slogans aimed directly at Vladimir Putin.

During the constitutional vote which strengthened the powers of the Russian president at the end of June, the region also stood out with a high abstention rate and a "yes" score 15% lower than the national average.

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To calm the protesters, Moscow was counting on the appointment on July 20 of an interim governor, Mikhaïl Degtiarev, from the same party as Sergei Fourgal.

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KHABAROVSK/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Thousands of people marched in the Russian far eastern city of Khabarovsk on Saturday for the fourth His detention, which his supporters say was politically motivated, has triggered weeks of street protests, creating a headache for the Kremlin which is trying

Huge anti -government demonstrations erupted in Russia ’s far east on Saturday over the arrest of a popular governor who was replaced this week by a Kremlin These have been some of the largest anti -government protests in Russia in years, which the Kremlin said this week were being fuelled by

However, the reception of this 39-year-old deputy known previously for his wacky bills was very cold. And for good reason, the person concerned has long said that he did not "have time" to meet the demonstrators and accused them of being supported by foreign "provocateurs".

"We should have chosen a local replacement ourselves. But instead we are sent someone who only knows about Khabarovsk the image drawn on the 5,000 ruble banknotes," scoffs Viktoria Sakharova.

In this context, and a sign of a certain nervousness, the authorities showed unusual restraint, allowing the demonstrators to do so and only carrying out a handful of arrests.

This week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov even praised the laissez-faire attitude of the police, when unauthorized protests are usually strongly repressed in Russia.

"We are still afraid that they will arrest us", nuance Yuri Petrov, a protester of 47 years. "We are living in a democratic moment, but it will undoubtedly be fleeting".

With AFP

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