Our final 24 hours in Moscow were telling. On Monday, thousands of anti-government protesters took to the streets, inspired by opposition leader Alexei Navalny. They vented their anger, crying out “1-2-3, Putin leave!” And “Putin, thief!” Riot police used rubber bullets to disperse the crowd, arresting dozens of people.
By this morning, Moscow’s streets were peaceful, as if all that never happened. Which allowed a lovely stroll in one of my favorite spots - Patriarch’s pond.
That’s Russia. At times, poetic and peaceful, at times infuriating, in the end resistant to true change. From the outside, Russia seems different - emboldened on the world stage, meddling in other’s elections. But from within, there’s a remarkable sameness.
In 2011, protesters took to the streets in even larger numbers than yesterday’s, chanting those same slogans, inspired by a slightly younger Navalny. Yet six years later, Putin remains firmly in charge. Many Russians soldier on. The opposition movement struggles to sustain itself.
Taking to the streets to protest in Putin’s Russia is a courageous act. You have to wonder if and when that day will come when the frustration reaches a boil, when these bouts of anger don’t so easily settle into a quiet morning. Whatever happens here, I hope to be back soon to keep watching.
Photos: Sergei Sotnikov/NPR and Gabriela Saldivia/NPR
YEMEN. Sana’a. May 16, 2011. Nabel Ali Mohamed, 28, receives treatment at a makeshift field hospital. While protesting, Nabel was detained and tortured by security forces. They used his body as an ashtray.
Photograph: Yuri Kozyrev/NOOR for the Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund
Today, to honour Tibetan Uprising Day and relentless Tibetan resistance to China’s brutal occupation, please share the Tibetan flag which is banned inside Tibet or join a local demonstration.
“Free Tibet” is not about hippies or meditation, it’s about a country that’s been under military occupation since 1949. It’s about colonialism.
Over 130 people have now self immolated since 2011 in protest against Chinese rule. Just recently, on March 6th, Norchuk set herself on fire and died from her wounds, marking the first self immolation of 2015.
Hi!, nice to meet you!. My name is Celia and I'm from Canary Islands (Spain). I'm studding Russian because I'm a huge fan of Rhythmic gymnastics. I was told that Putin's approval ratings were very high, like 80%. Are those official manipulated polls or something? I hope things get better, specially for the lgtb community. I saw a documentary about their situation at Russia and it was so unfair.
Hi Celia! I can tell you one thing: our society is frightened. It’s in a constant state of stress thanks to the government. And whether some people are afraid of Putin himself, they hate him and want him to leave, others afraid of what will happen if he leaves, while both groups agree that the country is controlled by disgusting corrupted mafia.
I suppose everything is clear with the first group, so let’s talk about the second one, who can be considered in manipulations as those who ‘approve’ his politics.
If you ask a regular Russian person, ‘are you satisfied with the government?’, the answer will be ‘no’ in the majority of cases. If you ask ‘are you satisfied with how the government treats its people?’ it will be ‘no’, 99%. But when you ask ‘do you want to see putin as the next president?’ the answer will be ‘are there any other candidates?’ = ‘do we have a choice?’ This is what mostly counted as ‘Putin’s approval thing’ in the polls.
The reasons of that answer:
1. For 17 years of his practical ruling, he didn’t give a chance to any real opponents to exist. The whole ‘democratic’ government are his puppets, everyone knows it.
2. People firmly believe their opinion is meaningless. We had protests in 2011-2013 when russians were against Putin as a president while the elections were rigged. But it resulted only in numerous arests and more strict censorship.
3. Some adults are afraid that things will get only worse when he leaves: this is because they experienced criminal chaos and hardships of 1990 years, when USSR became ruins in one shot. A walker could be killed in the nearest courtyard, the salaries were not given in money but in absolutely random equivalent. People had nothing to live on. Like, literally. My friend’s mother month after month was getting a salary as boxes of the same socks and tights, emm. My father was given dozens of same ceramic chicken statues (we still have boxes with them in the basement). This absurd may seem funny, but imagine it when you need to eat something, to raise your children and so on. While ordinary russians were put into poverty, others through bloody underground wars and privatization of gas, oil and mineral manufactures suddenly became millionaires - those who are sitting in the government right now. (btw, the film Dead Man’s Bluff, or Zhmurki depicts the social situation of 90s perfectly). And in the end of this horrible decade Putin comes to rule. You know, he didn’t do any fantastic things. He returned ordinary life conditions plus there was no gay censorship in the beginning and he was tending to make Russia a democratic European country people could be proud of… So for some adults he is associated with a life far from ideal, but at least the one where you get the salary and you won’t be killed in front of your house. (Yeah, in the regions people are happy to survive with100$ in a month). All of them, even if they see the truth now, are still afraid that dismissal of Putin means the change of the system, which will result ‘in the next 90s’. And of course the controlled media put all efforts to sustain this point of view, they make enemy of anyone who stand out in the obedient crowd (lgbt, for example). (p.s. As many many others, I don’t excuse this point of view, I’m only trying to explain it)
However, as you can see from the last events, Russia is rid of the current situation. People are hoping to overcome it someday… But right now, many of russians are in despair, as we don’t see any improvements, things are only getting worse.
Revisiting down the
memory lane the year-long student
resistence to the neoliberal reform of higher education,
by means of squatting hundreds of universities all over Greece and
weekly protests and riots leading to the massive demo of 8 March
2007, that turned into a fierce lengthy riot outside the greek
parliament in Syntagma Square in Athens, that changed and shaped the
way of protests in Greece in the critical events of years to come
(December Revolt 2008, Indignados summer of 2011, anti-austerity
protests etc.), by moving the field of prolonged protests and street
fighting around the greek parliament, (May 2006 –
Syrian refugee crisis: All your questions answered
The Syrian refugee crisis remains one of the largest humanitarian crises since the end of World War II. The number of refugees who have fled the country now exceeds five million, including more than 2.4 million children, and millions more have been displaced internally, according to the United Nations.
Syrians have poured across their borders since anti-government protests in 2011 spiralled into a full-blown war between rebels, government troops and foreign backers.
The first three months of 2017 saw more than 250,000 additional Syrians register as refugees, bringing the total to 5.1 million, according to the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR.
“It’s not about the number, it’s about the people,” UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch said, noting that the conflict has now lasted longer than World War II. “We’re trying to look for understanding, solidarity and humanity.”
Turkey continues to host the highest number of displaced Syrians, at nearly three million, with an increase of 47,000 since February, Baloch said.
When is a person considered a refugee?
Refugees are persons forced to leave their homes and countries because their lives and freedoms are in danger.
The 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees describes a refugee as any person who, “owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country”.
But this definition has been broadened to cover persons who are forced to leave their countries because of widespread violence, war and foreign occupation that has put their lives at risk in their home countries.
The reason for leaving one’s country is considered as the main factor in distinguishing refugees from migrants.
How and when did the Syrian refugee crisis start?
The flow of Syrian refugees to neighbouring countries started during the onset of the civil war in 2011.
The Arab Spring in Tunisia, Egypt and other Arab countries inspired protests in Syria, prompting a crackdown by the Syrian army. As Syria descended into a civil war, it became divided into a complex battle between the government, rebel groups and foreign backers.
By May 2011, the number of refugees crossing the Turkish border was estimated at just 300.
What countries have taken in Syrian refugees, and which country has the most?
According to Amnesty International, Syrian refugees have sought shelter in five countries throughout the Middle East, including Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan , Iraq and Egypt.
Turkey is the largest host country of registered refugees, with nearly three million.
None of the six states that form the Gulf Cooperation Council - Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar - has signed the UN convention on refugees, which has governed international law on asylum since World War II.
However, the Gulf states say they have taken in hundreds of thousands of Syrians since the civil war began - just not as refugees.
In 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Syrian refugees living in Turkey could eventually be granted citizenship, but he gave no details on eligibility criteria or how long the process would take.
In Jordan, more than 26,000 Syrians have obtained work permits, but refugees do not automatically acquire rights to residency.
More than one million Syrian refugees have made Lebanon their temporary home, but last year, President Michel Aoun vowed to send them back to their home country.
Egypt also became a major destination for Syrian refugees, but many have since fled their adopted homeland, in part because of a rising tide of anti-Syrian sentiment that took hold during the unrest following the toppling of the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, in 2013.
Inspired by The Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters swept through the streets of Egypt on the 25th of January, 5 years ago, demanding an end to the corruption and Mubarak’s 30 year rule as President.
25 January 2011: An anti-government protester defaces a picture of Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak in Alexandria [Stringer]
26 January 2011: Riot police clash with protesters in Cairo as thousands of Egyptians defied a ban on protests by returning to Egypt’s streets and calling for President Hosni Mubarak to leave office [Goran Tomasevic]
A protester holds up a banner in front of a line of riot police in downtown Cairo. [Unknown]
28 January 2011: A protester stands in front of a burning barricade as police and demonstrators fought running battles on the streets of Cairo in a fourth day of protests
28 January 2011: An Egyptian anti-government activist kisses a riot police officer following clashes in Cairo, Egypt [Lefteris Pitarakis]
28 January 2011: A man tries to protect himself with an Egyptian flag as police fire water cannons at protesters in Cairo
A masked protester throws a gas canister towards Egyptian riot police, not seen, near the Interior Ministry during clashes in downtown Cairo. [Tara Todras-Whitehill]
28 January 2011: A protester watches an Egyptian Army armoured vehicle burn in Cairo after President Hosni Mubarak ordered troops into Egyptian cities in an attempt to quell growing mass protests demanding an end to his 30-year rule
28 January 2011: Egyptians gather around the burning headquarters of the ruling National Democratic party (NDP) in Cairo [Khaled Desouki]
A graffitied smiley face on a wall constructed by the military to impede protesters. [Amru Salahuddien]
29 January 2011: The headquarters of the ruling National Democratic (NLD) party burns after it was set ablaze by protesters in Cairo [Yannis Behrakis]
Riot police use water cannons on protesters trying to cross the Kasr al-Nile bridge. [Peter Macdiarmid]
30 January 2011: Protesters in Cairo hold a banner featuring a cartoon calling for Hosni Mubarak to step down [Asmaa Waguih]
31 January 2011: Egyptian film star Omar Sharif points to Tahrir, or Liberation, Square, in Cairo, Egypt [Lefteris Pitarakis]
31 January 2011: A protester holds a placard depicting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as Adolf Hitler in Cairo’s Tahrir Square [Yannis Behrakis]
1 February 2011: Tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators march in Alexandria, Egypt [Ahmed Muhammed]
1 February 2011: An Egyptian man sits atop one of the lions at the entrance of Kasr El Nil Bridge, leading to Tahrir Square [Zeinab Mohamed]
2 February 2011: A pro-Mubarak rioter riding on a camel clashing with anti-government protesters in what became known as the Battle of the Camel [Chris Hondros]
6 February 2011: A Muslim holding the Quran (left) and a Coptic Christian holding a cross are carried through opposition supporters in Tahrir Square in Cairo [Dylan Martinez]
8 February 2011: Egyptian anti-government protesters perform the evening prayers as they gather at Cairo’s Tahrir square [Patrick Baz]
10 February 2011: Anti-government bloggers work on their laptops from Cairo’s Tahrir square on the 17th day of consecutive protests calling for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak [Patrick Baz]
10 February 2011: Anti-government protesters raise their shoes after a speech by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak saying that he had given some powers to his vice president but would not resign or leave the country [Chris Hondros]
11 February 2011: Egyptian women celebrate the news of the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, who handed control of the country to the military, at night in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, Egypt [Tara Todras-Whitehill]
11 February 2011: Celebrating the announcement of Hosni Mubarak’s resignation in Tahrir Square [Jonathan Rashad]
18 February 2011: A girl attends Friday prayers in front of an army tank in Tahrir Square in Cairo a week after Mubarak resigned [Suhaib Salem]
18 February 2011: A woman waves an Egyptian flag on a balcony overlooking Cairo’s Tahrir Square as hundreds of thousands of people gather to celebrate the revolt that forced president Hosni Mubarak to step down [Mohammed Abed]
“I got arrested in 2009 for protesting army recruitment. Then I got arrested in 2011 for protesting foreclosures after Hurricane Sandy. And I’m about to get arrested again, because on May 14th we’re going to Albany to protest fossil fuels.”