SURREY – In Moscow in this time of the year winter is the strongest enemy of the citizens with temperatures way below -15C, but this winter Celsius minuses are not the biggest problem. Workers, professionals, intellectuals and businessmen’s supported by Russian Orthodox Church clergy are on the streets fighting against semi-czarist regime lead by Vladimir Putin and his puppet Dmitry Medvedev. Following recent parliamentary elections opposition and their supporters come out asking for more democracy and fairness in election processes, but United Russia’s leader Putin doesn’t care about their wishes. As time is passing by and elections date is coming close Putin’s regime is starting to lose grip on power causing more damage to themselves than to opposition movement which is defiant to stay at the streets to the end. 

Recently Putin come out with invitation to literature giants to publish new works which will help to promote his view on Russia but one of the biggest names is on the other side of political spectrum. Grigory Chkhatishvili aka Boris Akunin one of the most popular authors in modern Russia, author numerous works with themes related to czarist era and mysteries doesn’t want to be in his corner. With Akunin at the helm of protests we can easily say that Russia is living apparent deja vu exactly two decades after last revolution in this Euro-Asian giant. In last years of Communistic Russia authors and intellectuals come out to support fighters for democracy, and today when Putin failed to gave it to them Akunin and his colleagues are on the streets. Akunin is accompanied by novelist Dmitry Bykov, anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalnyi, rock start Yury Schevchuk and some veteran opposition party leaders.

Boris Akunin
Boris Akunin (Photo: Robert Sharp, Flickr.com)

In overall Russian case biggest obstacle towards full democracy is three-part block which if doesn’t get broken soon will take whole country down the road to new dictatorship or in the worst case civil war. I mentioned two out of three: Putin’s semi-czarist regime and lack of transparency in election process, and third element is corruption combined with some of the worst examples of basic human rights violations. Stanislav Govorukhin, Putin’s campaign manager, recently gave same astonishing comments regarding corruption levels in Russia forcing many to ask themselves in which world he lives.

“Under Stalin, by the way, there was no corruption, it flourished only in the last years of Soviet power – think high-profile trials before the restructuring. Then came the dashing 90’s. In the 90 years of corruption, too, was not – instead it was a mess thieves, open robbery. Stole billions, factories, industries. Destroyed, stolen, broken Russian to the nines Today, we’re back to “normal “, “civilized” corruption, which, alas, there are in China (there is for it, however, shot), and in Italy and in America. It is inherent to a greater extent than those countries, but we, again, the thieves crept out of the terrible outrage – he added. – Another conversation that the fight against bribery, kickbacks is not as tough as they should. For example, why a person who is imprisoned for corruption, not confiscate the property? But we must not forget that many laws in this regard have been taken even before Putin”, said Govorukhin in an interview to the Turd (Labor) magazine.

Transparency International in last year Corruption perception report places Russia on 143rd place on-par with Uganda and Nigeria with 2.4 index points what directly points out high level of corruption on all levels. At the other side three mentioned nations: Italy, China and USA are far better placed. Italy sits on 69th position with 3.9 index points, China is on 75th with 3.6 ip’s while USA are 24th with 7.1 ip’s what means corruption perception is pretty low. Also it’s interesting to point out that Bosnia and Herzegovina who functioned whole 2011 without federal government in perfect climate for corruption development and increase is placed on 91st place with 3.2 index points. So if state like that can be placed above Russia we should ask ourselves what’s wrong with Putin’s perception of his own country, or this interview was just a simple example of Govorukhin unfortunate mistakes and misinformation on important issues?

It seems that upcoming presidential elections will be true referendum on Russia’s direction in the future, on Putin’s position in that future and wishes of Russian nation when it comes to political structure of the state. Continuation of Putin/Medvedev era will transform current peaceful protests on streets into Russian Spring or very hot summer where another regime will be forced to go away and return the power to the people-electors and their wishes. Addition fuel to the current internal political fights are coming from Russia’s support to last standing Arab dictator Bashar Al-Asad in Syria, what is not only dangerous to Putin/Medvedev but to Russia’s overall picture in the world. It’s also important not to forget Russia’s close ties with Iranian regime which is also facing elections later this year. So far it seems that Vladimir Putin and his regime are in deepest crisis and faced with the biggest opposition to years of repression, human rights violations and corruption.