The Russian authorities are afraid of a splash of mass protests in the country and begin to prepare for their suppression. It is stated in the report of the U.S. intelligence service Stratfor, Joinfo.ua reports with reference to the Apostrophe news agency.
“Even if the situation looks relatively calm now, the Kremlin knows the real threat to social stability in Russia will start in the heavily indebted regions, where the country could see a re-enactment of the 1998 protests. The federal government simply does not have the financial tools to bail out all of the country’s 83 regions. Instead, the government is focusing on preventing protests before they even start and giving security forces the tools needed to crack down if demonstrations do erupt,” the report reads.
According to experts of the U.S. intelligence service, “over the past month, the Russian Duma passed a series of laws to expand regional governments’ ability to monitor for protests and to expand police powers, including more extensive rights to use weapons against civilians.”
“Regional security forces have been cracking down on opposition leaders and organizations leading into September’s regional and municipal elections. Opposition leaders in some cities have already been detained in recent weeks, though local elections are still more than a month away. The Kremlin also moved up next year’s legislative and regional elections from December to September in hopes that a date change could undermine opposition efforts to organize protests close to summer holidays. Moscow might also want to get the election over with earlier if it believes the economy will only worsen toward the end of the year, ” Stratfor’s employees believe.
At the same time, analysts believe that if the situation in the Russian economy does not improve, “Moscow is likely heading toward a very rough period of unrest and subsequent crackdowns in the months ahead.”