Journalist Pavel Pryanikov writes in his blog that the protest movements that led to the fall of the USSR did not begin in the center of the country, but in the outskirts, as is the case in modern Russia :
“What else is interesting about Khabarovsk, which has eluded many observers. The perestroika chaos in the late USSR also began in the regions, and not in the Moscow protests. First, there were national unrest in Kazakhstan, Yakutia (April 1986 - with the slogans "Yakutia for the Yakuts!"), Karabakh, the Baltic states, etc.
Then - miners' strikes in Vorkuta, Karaganda, Donbass (by the way, in Donbass, miners demanded the independence of Ukraine).
And only then did Moscow pick up the protests of the regions - the first mass rally took place on May 21, 1989 in Luzhniki (150-200 thousand people).
In general, Izhevsk should be recognized as the cradle of perestroika protests. The first rally took place there on February 10, 1985 - with Chernenko alive. A crowd of young people protested against the renaming of the city to Ustinov. In August 1986, the police again dispersed the protest crowd in Izhevsk, marching into the city center under the slogan "We are for Izhevsk!" (in June 1987, the city was returned to its former name).
Outside the national republics of the RSFSR, the first major performance was on March 15-18, 1987 in Leningrad. Unauthorized demonstrations against the demolition of the Angleterre hotel on St. Isaac's Square were attended by 20-25 thousand people. Internal troops and a riot squad (the future riot police) were brought into the city, which brutally, using special means, dispersed the rally, immediately after which the hotel building was blown up (the head of the culture department of the city executive committee Valentina Matvienko authorized the demolition). A month later, the rally "Month of Remembrance of Angleterre" took place again, which brought together 3-5 thousand people.
Later that year, a wave of environmental protests swept across the RSFSR - in the city of Kirishi, Leningrad Region (15 thousand people against the construction of a biochemical plant), in Kazan (10-15 thousand people - also against the construction of a biochemical plant), etc.
The very first unauthorized performance in Moscow took place on May 6, 1987. On that day, members of the "Memory" group gathered at Manezhnaya Square - 400-600 people. Among their slogans were: "Stop the oppression of the Russian people!", "Down with Zionism and Jewish dominance!"
"Monuments" passed from Manezhnaya Square to the Moscow City Council, where the participants of the demonstration were received by the head of the Moscow City Committee of the CPSU, Yeltsin, who at that time was flirting with Russian nationalism.
And now, as we can see, the main protests of recent years are taking place outside Moscow - first there was Shies, now - Khabarovsk. "
Readers reminded the author that the protests in the USSR began even earlier:
- You missed the mass protests in Georgia in 1978 long before Gorbachev and perestroika. The GSSR was going to adopt a new constitution and consolidate the Russian language as the state language in the republic. Because of this, protests of the Georgian intelligentsia and other activists began in Georgia ...
However, for the most part, readers were skeptical about the effectiveness of the protest movement in Russia, agreeing that all revolutions are done from above:
- Everything was decided by the desire of the Russian authorities for independence from the Union. Well, if, for example, Germany and France leave the European Union at the same time.
- Protests, yes. But if the cut of the union was not beneficial to a narrow group, they would simply be dispersed and that's it.
- I am sure that the people did not decide anything in the end. The Soviet elite merged the USSR project by sawing money among themselves.