IN THESE times of growing authoritarianism, it is worth taking note when people fight back. Two recent events in Russia show that despite President Vladimir Putin’s intolerance for dissent, there are moments when people are willing to speak up, strongly.
In Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth-largest city, two local copper oligarchs, along with church and city officials, decided to build a cathedral, a replica of St. Catherine’s, which was destroyed by the Bolsheviks in 1930 at the peak of their campaign to suppress religion in the Soviet Union. The new cathedral was to be erected on a public park near the city’s October Square,
on the bank of the Iset River. Although the project had been long discussed, when a fence went up to mark the construction site, it infuriated many who loved the park. On May 13, demonstrators ripped down the fence and tried to sink it in the river. On subsequent days, the authorities brought in riot police, used cement to anchor the fence and detained protesters
. But the protesters did not give up.