“The horizon by the name of Putin” — the newspaper of France on the elections to the Moscow city Duma

The role of youth and students in Moscow protests of this summer, the shaky image of Sergei Sobyanin and “smart voting” Alexei Navalny French Newspapers devote a number of publications elections to the Moscow city Duma, which will take place on Sunday, September 8.

Repeated detention of members accii for free elections and administrative arrests, reminiscent of scenes from the novels of Kafka, affected the image of the incumbent mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin, says Saturday, September 7, the newspaper Le Monde: “Melted the myth of Sobyanin modern, liberal and willing to compromise”. As writes the journalist of the edition, the mayor commented on the summer protests in the capital, it became obvious that “he is not a politician, what he lacks charisma, caught the eye, he was reading from a teleprompter”. “Sobyanin — a technocrat or, as they say in Russia, “Manager”, and for this reason it was placed in 2010 at the head of the Moscow mayor’s office”, — says the newspaper. The author notesthat until the summer of 2019, the mayor coped with its task, which was to gracefully terminate “era” of Yuri Luzhkov, and to turn the Russian capital into a modern city. Moreover, he was able to maintain a dialogue “with the Moscow middle class, often liberal-minded, and with the Kremlin falcons.” According to the expert of the analytical center Tatiana R. Politik Deadlift, which leads the newspaper “the Moscow crisis caused the mayor a lot of problems”, as to the country’s political elite considered Sobyanin as a potential new Prime Minister, if not as a candidate in the presidential election of 2024. Now, says Tatiana Stanovaya, in the eyes of the elite on it’s fault that the protests went out of control government.

Le Figaro newspaper remindsthat the Moscow city Duma elections could pass unnoticed, if not for the refusal to register independent candidates. “It’s not the most important vote helped to shape the protest movement, whose importance should not be exaggerated, but it is serious,” writes Le Figaro. The publication notesthat the inhabitants of the Russian regions is still more concerned about the implications of the pension reform and the continuing decline in purchasing power. However, in Moscow non-system opposition was able to bring to the streets thousands of people demanding free elections and civil rights. August 10, reminds the edition, on the prospectus of Academician Saharova has gathered more than 50 thousands of protesters — “unprecedented phenomenon since the August 1991 coup”.

“To provide an outlet for the electoral area would be to meet the demands of Alexei Navalny and translate “non-systemic opposition” to the status of legitimate, but at this stage, the border for which does not go”, — explained to Le Figaro, the Director of the analytical centre at the Franco-Russian chamber of Commerce Arnaud Dubien.

The publication notedthat on the eve of elections to the Moscow city Duma unity among liberal-minded voters there. One of the contentious points of the proposed Bulk “smart vote.” It is to vote for the strongest opponent of the current government at a particular polling station. The voter may go to the website “smart vote”, enter your district, and the system will pick up the candidate. The strategy has caused controversy, as according to this rather mathematical method on a large number of polling stations “the strong” are often the representatives of the Communist party. Le Figaro underlines the fact that representatives of “United Russia” in the lists of candidates not officially.

The newspaper Le Monde dedicates the publication of “the smithy of the Russian liberal elite” — Higher school of Economics. It recalls that almost the main face of the summer protests was the student of the HSE and videoblogger Egor Zhukov. Recall that Zhukov was arrested on 2 August on the case of mass riots during the uncoordinated action of the opposition on 27 July. September 3, Basmanny court of Moscow under the petition of the investigation changed the measure of restraint Zhukov from detention to house arrest until September 27. However, at the same time he was charged with incitement to extremist activities on the Internet.

Many students of the Higher school of economy came to the first in the new academic year of classes in t-shirts with a portrait of Yegor Zhukov, in many classrooms on the boards was written his name and the names of the other students arrested at the “Moscow case”. Students that was interviewed by the journalist of Le Monde, noted that it is difficult to imagine in any other school.

While Le Monde writes about the “delicate balance” in this Moscow University: on the one hand, the tradition of teaching in a liberal and open atmosphere, with another — the risk of overlapping of oxygen, as in other Metropolitan universities. HSE lecturer Kirill Martynov, who was talking to the journalist, statedthat the University began an unexpected check, is of concern the reorganization of the faculty of political science, complicated procedure of renewal of contracts of some teachers, there was a ban on speech in the University unnamed representative of the opposition. According to Martynov, which leads to Le Monde, he fears “front of students, asking questions about the opposition and write answers to them and then pass” on.

“The HSE was a place for study, not for protests or expression of political views”, — say the representatives of the press service of the University. The student editor of the online magazine “Tower,” Svetlana Kiseleva commentedthat the HSE “have always maintained this neutral position, but this summer more actively insist on this convenient formulation”. She noted that the involvement of students in the protest activity is for the future of the University a real challenge.

Also, the publication notesthat the liberalism of the HSE was not absolute: the University is headed by the husband of the head of the Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina Yaroslav Kuzminov and the rector of the HSE Valery Kasamara involved in the Moscow city Duma elections as independent candidates close to the current government.

Le Figaro newspaper also writes about the Moscow students, was “in the heart of the demonstrations this summer.” For many of them vote on 8 September will be the first such experience. “Young, of course, did not find the Soviet era, or even the decade of chaos that followed the collapse of the USSR. Their official political horizon is named Vladimir Putin came to power exactly 20 years ago, in 1999, which almost corresponds to their age,” writes the journalist of the edition. Le Figaro also refers to the results of sociological research, according to which 17% of Russians do not exclude moving in another country. Of them 41% — people aged 18-24 years.

“More active participation of students in the last meetings in comparison with the protests of 2011-2012, when Putin returned to the presidency, indicates a slow onset of political maturity of the Russian society”, as believe the experts interviewed by the journalists. In their opinion, the middle class, who served in 2011-2012 a key role in the protest movement, yielded the podium to young. Le Figaro quotes the words of sociologist Denis Volkov, who believes that the Russian young people and students, has long been regarded as apolitical, acting in the political field more and more consciously. He notes that a gap remains between young people of big cities and regions, but it is rapidly shrinking thanks to social media.
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