News Release

“Occupy the Kremlin”?


Director of the Institute for Globalization and Social movements in Moscow, Kagarlitsky’s books include “Restoration in Russia: Why Capitalism Failed” and “Empire of the Periphery: Russia and the World System.” He was arrested under Brezhnev and under Yeltsin for his political activism.

Kagarlitsky was just interviewed by The Real News: “Putin Wins, Will Mass Protests Follow?” He states that Putin faced no serious opposition candidates, but the Russian people are fed up with the pro-corporate — or neo-liberal — system.

DAVID KOTZ, dmkotz at
Kotz is professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and coauthor of Russia’s Path from Gorbachev to Putin: The Demise of the Soviet System and the New Russia. He notes that the U.S. backed many of the policies that led to the autocratic rise of Putin.

FRED WEIR, fred.weir2002 at
Moscow-based correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, Weir wrote the piece “Exit polls forecast Vladimir Putin to win another term as president of Russia, while his opponents plan to take to the streets this week and beyond,” which states: “But the mood in Moscow, where Mr. Putin’s popularity is low, was anything but celebratory. Opposition leaders were already crying foul and drawing up plans for rolling protests this week against elections they say were unfair in their very essence. In coming days, reports from tens of thousands of independent election monitors will likely hit the Internet, adding fuel to the protests if significant fraud should be uncovered.

“Much of downtown Moscow was blocked off by about 40,000 special riot police, who set up barricades and blocked access to main squares with rows of buses, apparently aiming to forestall any opposition attempt to hold the kind of fast-moving flash-mob protests that erupted just after the allegedly fraud-tainted elections in December.

“Opposition forces will stage a show of strength Monday evening on Moscow’s central Pushkin Square, just a five minute walk from the Kremlin, which they expect up to 50,000 people to attend. Some of the more radical leaders, such as anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny, argue that it’s time to turn the protests from single-event affairs into rolling ‘Occupy the Kremlin’ style tent cities. According to the Moscow Times, Mr. Navalny said Sunday that Putin’s re-election can already be judged a fraud, and the popular goal now would be to overturn the result.”