Protesters in St. Petersburg gathered outside the city's famous Winter Palace
On March 26, an estimated 70,000 Russians participated in anti-Kremlin rallies in 99 cities across the country. Geopolitical Futures forecast that Russia would have economic and political problems in 2017 due to continuously low oil prices. Mounting wage arrears, localized banking crises, cuts to government spending, and decreased purchasing power have laid the groundwork for social unrest, particularly in the country’s interior regions. These protests show seemingly coordinated unrest, including in metropolitan centers like Moscow and St. Petersburg. This suggests that control by the regime in Moscow is becoming more tenuous, and it raises the question of whether our forecast was too conservative.
Our forecast envisioned a scenario of sporadic, minor unrest in small towns and cities that would increase in magnitude and intensity throughout the year. But it is only March, and tens of thousands of people already have taken to the streets, including in major urban areas, to express disapproval of President Vladimir Putin’s administration. The increase in scope and intensity has occurred at a faster pace than originally thought.
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Update #1: Russian students committed to fighting 'absurdity' (DW)
Update #2: Russia's new protest generation (Roman Dobrokhotov, Al Jazeera)
WNU Editor: Since the weekend I have been checking and reading Russian social media posts .... focusing on my cousin's kids (they are all in their late twenties) and their friends. Wow .... everyone .... and I mean everyone in this generation are talking about more protests and changing the system. If I was the Kremlin .... I would be worried .... and from what I am hearing .... they are starting to be concerned.