Russian social movements are struggling with Putin's repression and economic “liberalisation”, the war in Chechnya, neonazis and the mafia. (Organised crime apparently now controls over 20% of Russia's gross domestic product.)
On 14 and 15 April, unauthorised “Dissenters' Marches” in Moscow and St Petersburg by the new liberal-led coalition “The Other Russia”, were met with arrests and police beatings.
Veteran radical Boris Kagarlitsky observes that, “As things stand today, the liberal opposition appears to be the only political force that can provide resources, legal and information support to social movements.”
To Russia with love
One small external contribution was made recently by War Resisters' International, which sent the indefatigable Andreas Speck from London and the redoubtable Sergeiy Sandler from Israel to tour Russia offering support to anti-conscription and other antimilitarist groups.
They also held a nonviolence training for a variety of antifascists, antimilitarists and anarchists (not all committed to nonviolence) which seems to have contributed to the nonviolent attitude later shown on the first Dissenters' March.