Sunday

22nd Oct 2017

Russian protest inspired by EU neighbours

  • Central Kaliningrad: "Our region is the most European in the whole [Russian] federation," Mr Doroshok said (Photo: wtf)

The leader of the largest anti-government protest in Russia for almost a decade has said that his region's proximity to EU countries is producing an appetite for political change.

Between 7,000 and 12,000 people held a rally in Kaliningrad on Saturday (30 January), in a demonstration that had initially targeted local tax hikes but which ended in calls for more democracy and for Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to resign.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"We don't get our knowledge about the world here from state television, like people in provincial Russia, but from what we see when we visit our neighbours," the protest organiser, Maksim Doroshok, told Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza.

"We see that in neighbouring Poland, where they brought in reforms, where there is democracy, it's cheaper, people earn more, civic bodies function better. Why should we be any worse? Our region is the most European in the whole [Russian] federation because we know Europe and we know how to fight for our rights."

Mr Doroshok, a 40-year-old electrician and a senior figure in the Solidarnost (Russian for "Solidarity," named after the Polish Solidarnosc trade union) opposition movement in Kaliningrad, highlighted the parallels between himself and Lech Walesa, a shipyard worker from Gdansk in Poland who in the 1980s led Solidarnosc in a struggle against his country's Communist regime.

"There is a different spirit at rule here. There is a wind blowing from your Gdansk," he told the Polish paper.

The weekend protest in the Kalinigrad exclave, a piece of Russian territory surrounded by Poland, Lithuania and the Baltic Sea, was the largest anti-government demonstration in the country since 2001.

The province, which is home to around 1 million people and a number of military facilities, has been touted by Moscow as a model for potential EU-Russia integration, but suffers from poor living standards and high levels of tuberculosis and HIV.

Mr Putin in 2005 abolished elections for the post of governor and installed a loyalist - lighting components millionaire Georgy Boos - to run Kaliningrad, amid fears that the region was drifting away from central control.

Small-scale pro-democracy protests also took place across Russia over the weekend, with gaggles of demonstrators in Moscow, St Petersburg and Vladivostock calling for reforms.

The main rally, in Moscow, saw police detain 100 out of the 300 or so protestors, newswires report, with senior opposition leader, Boris Nemstov, among those put under arrest.

Investigation

The mysterious German behind Orban's Russian deals

Klaus Mangold, a German businessman with good connections in Russia, and who provided a jet for Commission vice-president Guenther Oettinger, played a crucial role in Hungary's controversial Paks nuclear deal with Russia, Direkt36's investigation has found.

Turkey funding cuts signal EU mood shift

EU leaders at their summit spent some three hours deliberating on relations with Turkey before asking the EU commission to come up with a plan on cutting and reorienting some €4.5 billion in pre-accession aid.

Agenda

Posted workers top EU agenda This Week

The posted workers file will be on the table of ministers and MEPs this week, while budget, journalism, Schengen and party funding are also on the EP's plenary menu.

Turkey funding cuts signal EU mood shift

EU leaders at their summit spent some three hours deliberating on relations with Turkey before asking the EU commission to come up with a plan on cutting and reorienting some €4.5 billion in pre-accession aid.

News in Brief

  1. Rajoy to trigger Article 155 on Saturday in Catalan crisis
  2. EU conducts unannounced inspection of German car firm
  3. Lithuania calls for new EU energy laws
  4. EU leaders aim for December for defence cooperation
  5. Juncker says hands tied on Russia pipeline
  6. Czechs set to elect billionaire Andrej Babis
  7. Italian regions hold referendums on more autonomy
  8. EU leaders refuse to mediate Catalonia conflict

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Jinping Proposes Stronger Global Security Governance at Interpol Assembly
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaEU Engagement Could Contribute to Lasting Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh
  3. UNICEFViolence in Myanmar Driving 12,000 Rohingya Refugee Children Into Bangladesh Every Week
  4. European Jewish CongressBulgaria Applauded for Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
  5. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  6. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  8. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  9. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  10. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  11. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  12. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!

Latest News

  1. The mysterious German behind Orban's Russian deals
  2. Mogherini urged to do more on Russian propaganda
  3. Turkey funding cuts signal EU mood shift
  4. Posted workers top EU agenda This Week
  5. Leaders lobby to host EU agencies at summit's margins
  6. Legal tweak could extend EU control on Russia pipeline
  7. Ukraine language law does not harm minorities
  8. EU begins preparations for Brexit trade talks