Igor Eidman expects the state to crack down on the supporters of the Kremlin critic. He demands clear words from Berlin.
taz: This Saturday people in Russia are called upon to take to the streets for the freedom of Alexei Navalny. There have already been several arrests of activists. Do you expect more brutal pictures from Moscow and St. Petersburg?
Igor Eidman: The government will act relentlessly against the demonstrators. The police will try hard to end the protests, especially in the big cities. For example violence and mass arrests. And I’m not just saying that based on past experiences.
The government in Moscow has already started to frighten people in the past few days. She publicly warns the population not to take part in the demonstrations. The Ministry of Education in particular is trying to keep students away from the protests, because many young people are defending themselves against the repression of the Kremlin.
Protest actions will also take place in Germany on Saturday. You helped organize the largest vigil in Berlin. You want to march from the Chancellery to the Russian Embassy. What do you want to achieve with it?
We don’t just come together to support Alexei Navalny. We are also fighting for the release of all other political prisoners in Russia, as well as for Ukrainian citizens who are in Russian prisons. But we also want to show German society that Putin is not Russia and that many Russian-speaking people living in Germany are against the dictatorship and for freedom and democracy in Russia. We call on the German government and Chancellor Angela Merkel personally to work very specifically for the freedom of Navalny and other prisoners.
Why do you think Angela Merkel’s words carry weight?
I am absolutely certain that the Chancellor can influence the situation. There have been many examples of the Kremlin having released political prisoners after the West and Berlin increased pressure on Moscow. There is the release of the opposition Mikhail Khodorkovsky (Putin critic who was in custody from 2003 to 2013, editor’s note. Red.) or the singers of the punk band “Pussy Riot”.
52, is a Russian sociologist and has lived in Germany for ten years. He heads the non-governmental organization “Forum of Russian-speaking Europeans”, founded in 2017
You founded your association with the aim of “stopping the advance of Putinism into Europe”.
The Kremlin has agitated in Germany so that Russian-speaking citizens can vote in the AfD’s last federal election. This happens, for example, via Russian television channels that are based in Moscow and broadcast in Germany. We will try to counter this propaganda in the future.
But you also criticize them Position of the left, which you describe as “pro-Kremlin” as well as representatives of the SPD. So almost everyone who practically does not speak out against Putin.
No, we only criticize those who spread the Kremlin’s position and support President Vladimir Putin’s policies, such as Sahra Wagenknecht and Gerhardt Schröder. But we rather want to bring people together who are committed to European values such as freedom and democracy. Values that are disregarded every day in Russia.