The police arrested on Saturday 23 January hundreds of demonstrators in Russia demanding the release of the opponent Alexeï Navalny, and who oppose the power of Vladimir Putin.“We round up ordinary citizens who take to the streets”, denounced on franceinfo Marie Mendras, political scientist at CNRS, teacher at Sciences-Po Paris and specialist in Russia. “Navalny has already won, she said, [Vladimir Poutine] he is in a standoff now with tens of millions of Russians who understand that power is not only authoritarian, but also corrupt. “
franceinfo: Is it the moment of truth for Navalny?
Marie Mendras: First of all, I believe that it is the moment of truth for Vladimir Putin and his regime. It is they who feel under siege, who resort to violence, abuse of power, arrests. Let us realize that since last Sunday, the arrival of Navalny in Moscow, there are raids that occur! People are rounded up, ordinary citizens who go out into the streets and come to express their anger and their demands. Then, Navalny was arrested and tried in a totally expeditious manner in a police station, a judge was brought to a police station on Monday morning.
“Basically, Navalny is the master of the clocks and the regime is falling completely into the trap.”Marie Mendras, political scientist at CNRS
By having only one weapon against the Russian opposition, against social discontent, it is repression and more than repression, it is really total disregard of the rule of law and of constitutional and institutional rules. in Russia.
For the Kremlin to feel under siege, shouldn’t there be more people on the streets?
I don’t believe Putin needs millions of people on the streets to feel under siege. It has been several years since he is more and more withdrawn into his power, that he does not support any public exchange with critical people, there is zero debate in Parliament. Let us understand that Russia is an authoritarian regime, very police, dangerous for its own population and that therefore already have, in cities of Siberia where it is up to minus 40, thousands of people who know that there is a large lucky to be arrested, it seems to me that the regime is clearly disowned. Finally, when we listen to what the demonstrators chant today, it is: freedom, we want freedom and Navalny, we are with you. But the most important thing is that the Russians are asking for freedom, public freedoms, fundamental rights. The great strength of Navalny and his Foundation for the fight against corruption has been investigating for ten years clientelism, embezzlement and illegal enrichment. We remember the video on then Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev a few years ago. This is why really, it is Navalny who leads the game. From his prison, he panics Vladimir Poutine. He had planned and he had asked his team to upload the video 24 hours after his imprisonment. And it was he who chose it. And there, we can clearly see that Putin is late, that is to say that he is not in a standoff with Navalny. Navalny, he’s already won. He is in a standoff now with tens of millions of Russians who have understood that power is not only authoritarian, but also corrupt.
However, the Russian opposition does not manage to score points in the ballot box …
We are not in a democracy. Take power in the face of millions of armed men? All the police, the FSB, military intelligence … It is an overarmed country where you do not even have the right, in the streets of Russian cities, to be alone with a sign that has a claim. You are immediately arrested. Any rally by the opposition is prohibited. So the problem for these millions of Russians who have had enough of this regime is to corner them little by little and force them to leave power. But they know very well that it is not for tomorrow. And also, I believe that what is very important is to remember how Navalny, following his failed poisoning last August, has become an international public figure. And that therefore the role of democracies is really to explain that we defend ourselves. Not just a very courageous man, but we are defending the democratization of Russia, which is our neighbor.