“A sign of weakness of power”: the French press about the crackdown on peaceful rallies in Moscow

The French press Sunday, July 28, talks about the hard crackdown of the rally for fair elections in Central Moscow.

While the Federal channels showed a dip of Vladimir Putin to the bottom of the Gulf of Finland, in the centre of Moscow the police harshly dispersed the peaceful demonstration. The rudeness on the part of the authorities has turned the local elections into a large political crisis, writes Libération.

The portal Francetvinfo noticesthat the pressure on the opposition took a huge scale, rare even for Russia: more than a thousand detainees per day, the police in the editorial office of the TV channel “Rain” and the Studio “Live Bulk”, non-working Internet in the area of the rally. “For many years we have not observed the use of such repressive Arsenal” — emphasizes Francetvinfo.

The newspaper Le Monde writesthat the rough reaction of the authorities demonstrates the desire “to do it, which is toxic to them since the beginning of summer.” All week they tried to “decapitate” and to suppress the protest movement: the night searches, independent candidates and their families, the interrogation, the criminal case of the Moscow rallies, joined the FSB, the intention to search for “draft Dodgers” among the protesters.

The refusal to create in Moscow a semblance of competitive elections is, on the one hand, an unprecedented departure from democratic principles, and, on the other hand, the weakness of government, which is losing ratings, notes Le Monde. No wonder the candidates supported by the authorities, are not from the “United Russia”, but as independent candidates.

But the main thing — it can lead to radicalization on both sides. A good example is former state Duma Deputy Dmitry Gudkov, who was considered one of the “moderate” opposition. Now he speaks firmly and unapologetic, stating that the opposition block all the way of legitimate participation in politics.

The opposition are “stunned, but not discouraged,” notes Francetvinfo. Despite police violence, a new campaign announced on 3 August — “to reduce the pressure.” We can only guess, will power, and this time the path of repression.

Because in the end she has something to lose: the Moscow city Duma elections are not so insignificant, notes Libération. The opposition candidates, if elected, there would be control over the distribution of Finance in Moscow and the opportunity to make more transparent a corrupt sphere of public procurement.

The portal Mediapart, in turn, considers the situation “from outside”, in a broader context. And recalled that in Russia for several months, there are various protest movements. And the “political awakening” takes place not only in Moscow. “There is no reason to talk about the “Russian spring”, but these shocks indicate a “resurrection” of civil society, in the face of which the system remains vigilant,” writes Mediapart. The portal recalls the protests against the construction of the temple in the Park in Yekaterinburg, the case Golunova, rallies against the construction of landfills near the station Sees.

Mediapart notes that “resurrection” of civil society will be key for future transformation, but the strength of the resistance reminds us that the way will be long.

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