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Most Russians have long stopped expecting that any real change may come from electoral politics, a playing field tightly controlled by the Kremlin. And yet, a slew of recent, successful popular movements are proving that, even without real elections, Russians can stand up for their interests. People have defended their electoral choice in Khabarovsk, prevented unwanted construction in Yekaterinburg, and stopped a huge landfill from being built in the Arkhangelsk region. Russia’s most prominent opposition figure Alexei Navalny also recently returned to Moscow from Berlin, where he had received medical treatment in the aftermath of his attempted poisoning. Navalny was promptly arrested, but his followers are organizing protests all over Russia.

The Kennan Institute's Maxim Trudolyubov discusses Russia's newfound social and political activism with Zhanna Nemtsova, co-founder of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom. The organization is named after Boris Nemtsov, Zhanna’s father, who was murdered almost six years ago.

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Kennan Institute

The Kennan Institute is the premier U.S. center for advanced research on Russia and Eurasia and the oldest and largest regional program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The Kennan Institute is committed to improving American understanding of Russia, Ukraine, and the region through research and exchange.  Read more