Russia: Putin's police are 'powerless' says Ponomarev
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Protest against the war in Russia has up until now mostly been confined to symbolic acts of defiance – such as the handing out and wearing of green ribbons, individual pickets and in some cases the torching of army recruitment centres. This is due in large part to the harsh repressive measures introduced by the Putin regime to crush opposition – making the act of protest fraught with danger. However, political protest against Putin and his war in Ukraine appeared to escalate last week with the assassination of Darya Dugina – the daughter of the ultranationalist ideologue Aleksander Dugin.
Despite the FSB pointing the finger of blame at Kyiv, a hitherto unknown group of Russian partisans, calling themselves the National Republican Army, claimed responsibility for the murder and vowed to “destroy” Putin.
The assassination of Dugina raises the question of whether Russia is sliding towards a violent political uprising that could lead to the overthrow of Putin and his regime.
Daniil Chebykin, a former prominent campaigner for Alexey Navalny in Omsk, told Express.co.uk that a majority of Russians were against the war and that the country was indeed heading towards revolution.
But he stressed that regime change did not have to be violent and could be realised through peaceful means.
Mr Chebykin explained: “First of all any change of regime is a revolution. Does it have to be violent?
“Revolution doesn’t always mean blood has to be spilled. We have seen many peaceful revolutions in the world, including in Middle Asia and other countries.
“I would appeal to people to bring about a peaceful revolution.”
Russians have been criticised for their apparent lack of resistance to the war and their inability to engineer a popular uprising to overthrow Putin and his henchmen.
The anti-Putin activist said it was unrealistic to expect ordinary Russians to remove the current regime under present circumstances and while Putin retained the support of his elites.
But he predicted Putin’s Kremlin backers would turn on him and the regime would collapse from within under the weight of its own failures.
It would be precisely at this moment that pro-democracy supporters could seize power peacefully and change the course of Russian history.
Mr Chebykin said: “The moment to act is when the regime collapses. Now everything is heading towards a terrible end.
“It is still not clear how long this may continue – but at the moment Putin loses power, then all those supporters of democracy, progress and peace must clearly and powerfully have their say so as to avoid a repeat (of Putin).”
He added: “I want Russia to become a democratic country and there are many paths that can lead us there – Navalny, someone else.
“But Russia will be a peaceful European country sooner or later – it is an inevitable historical fact.
“We are all living for this moment – it will be bad for some time to come – but it is possible to achieve the right results by going about things in the right way – that is my hope.”
In a previous interview with the Express, the former head of Estonia’s army Riho Terras claimed that Russians had to share collective responsibility for Putin and his war in Ukraine.
Mr Chebykin, who went on to found the Omsk Civil Association after Alexey Navalny’s offices were closed down in a sweeping purge, said this was unfair and people should avoid tarring all Russians with the same brush.
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He explained: “I don’t think it is right to say all Russians are guilty.
“A huge amount of people do not support the war, do not support Putin – and I don’t think they should have to shoulder the responsibility.
“I have worked for a long time already in different political organisations, fought against Putin’s regime, protested.
“I worked for Alexey Navalny’s office – I and my colleagues have endured a massive amount of repression – fines, imprisonment, bank accounts blocked, searches – you name it we suffered it – even physical persecution by the police.
“The large group of people with whom I socialise and who share my political views – many of those have suffered.
“For most of their lives they have fought against the Putin regime and I don’t understand why they should bear responsibility for his actions.”
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