Russian opposition calls for festival of resistance to end United Russia’s reign
By Will Englund,
MOSCOW — Russian opposition groups plan to hold a “festival of civil resistance” here Tuesday, to begin a campaign against the ruling United Russia party with an eye toward parliamentary elections late this year. The festival is to include a concert by various rock bands, including one that calls itself, in Russian, Boston Tea Party.
Organizers from an array of human rights groups and single-issue advocacy organizations said Monday that their goal is to end United Russia’s monopoly on power, in part by pressing for open and fair elections. Mikhail Shneider of the Solidarity group said he doesn’t believe they’re chasing after a lost cause: 20 years ago, he pointed out, the Communist Party had a monopoly on power, and more means of enforcing it, and yet it lost everything.
The campaign, “For Russia Without United Russia,” comes as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has called for the creation of a “popular front” coalition, of which United Russia would be just one member, to contest this year’s elections. Analysts believe he did so in recognition of the party’s waning popularity. Detractors like to call it the “party of crooks and thieves.”