Putin versus Civil Society: Outlawing the Opposition

Issue Date July 2013
Volume 24
Issue 3
Page Numbers 75-87
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The Russian protest movement of 2011–12, which challenged the outcome of the December 2011 State Duma elections and called for transparency, accountability, and democratic reform, posed the first real challenge to President Vladimir Putin and the political system that he has established in Russia. As hundreds of thousands of Muscovites repeatedly flooded the streets in protest between December 2011 and May 2012 and smaller rallies took place in dozens of other cities, it became clear that Putin and his United Russia party were losing popularity—particularly among the more urban, affluent, and influential segments of the population. Even now, a year into Putin’s third term, the regime has failed to return to business as usual. Demands among the Russian people for transparency and accountability are growing, as is a greater reluctance to accept the status quo.