The Nezygar channel reports on the sad state of the protest movement, describing 2021 as a year of an average level of protest sentiment in the country, a significant part of which occurred at its beginning and end. A separate phenomenon was the activity of the systemic opposition in the regions, which allowed it to improve the result in the parliamentary elections.
There are three waves of protest in total. At the beginning of 2021, support for the activities of Navalny (recognized as a member of an extremist organization banned on the territory of the Russian Federation), when the System severely neutralized the destructive manifestations of non-systemic protest. In fact, a vector was set on systemic public policy and a barrier was placed on attempts to change its rules of the game.
This also affected the course of the campaign for the election of deputies to the State Duma in the middle of the year (the second wave), which, although accompanied by some growth in the protest activity of the Communist Party, was generally calm.
The coronavirus theme of the middle to the end of the year made it possible to redirect public tension from the political to the social channel. However, the risks of increasing the activity of citizens on this topic remain in the context of vaccination of certain categories of citizens (children, adolescents).
Political scientist Dmitry Mikhailichenko comments on the situation in his channel:
“Protest activity in the country is in the dynamics of contraction and is being eroded. The tightening of the screws leads to a decrease not so much in the number of protest actions (as recorded at the end of 2021), but in a decrease in the quality of the protest.
The protest is depoliticized, localized and suppressed. The elimination of non-systemic opposition at the beginning of the year severed the potential for coordinating protest across the country and reduced the ability of society to put forward political demands.
Regional protest last year was also not characterized by high intensity: there were significant protests against QR codes, on the environmental agenda, as well as on socio-economic problems and the inability of regional administrations to ensure life safety (St. Petersburg, Yakutia, Volgograd, Kursk, Chelyabinsk , Kemerovo Regions, Primorsky, Perm Territories and a number of others), however, there were no powerful protests comparable to 2020 (Kushtau, Khabarovsk).
At the same time, sociology shows a high level of social discontent, which is not converted into protest activity due to the imposition of a subservient type of political culture and threats of repression.
In a situation of fragmented protest potential and lack of coordination, individual pockets of social discontent do not represent structural difficulties for the System. Displaced outside the country, the System will continue to label dissidents as agents of the geopolitical influence of the West. Such optics is very beneficial for the System, since the degree of approval of foreign policy in society is always a multiple higher than that of domestic policy.
At the same time, the stage of accumulation of socio-economic problems in Russian society continues, and there are few prospects for improving the material well-being of most citizens. This factor, plus the clear desire of the governors to manage the population on the basis of the principles of command and control, makes new protests inevitable..."