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What are they saying in Germany about the elections and protests in Russia

Что говорят в Германии о выборах и протестах в России

The press of Germany has focused on the protests against pension reform in Russia. The results of the elections are only interested in experts. DW interviewed them and representatives of the German government

Topic worthy of attention, for the German press became not regional elections in Russia on September 9, and passed on the same day in different cities with mass protests against pension reform. Many publications even in the headlines brought the number of detainees by the police of protesters – more than 800 people. On the website of the first channel of German television (ARD) Tagesschau.de published photo: St. Petersburg police officer leads somewhere, grabbing the neck, boy 13 years old.

The press of Germany and the speaker of the Chancellor about the protests in Russia

The newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine draws attention to the fact that “despite the ban, thousands of Russians again took to the street in protest against raising the retirement age.”

And this despite the fact, the publication adds that “under pressure from Moscow to the American Internet-concern Google erased video platform YouTube call team Navalny.” For everything there is money, quoted by the Frankfurter Allgemeine 44-year-old woman, “for the armed forces in Syria, in Ukraine, for friends of the President, but not for pensioners”.

The ARD reporter spoke with an indignant Moscow pensioner, who visited a few days ago at the grave of his wife, who died in 66 years. But near the cemetery, said the widower, a German journalist, the graves of men, of which not many have survived even until this age. According to him, to work to a ripe old age have in Russia because the pension will not live.

Edition of Zeit online in this regard, he says dryly that the average male life expectancy in Russia is 67 years, women – 77. In Germany, for comparison, where the retirement age is raised to 67 years, this rate is respectively 79 years and 83 years.

The official reaction of Berlin

At the request of DW the actions of Russian authorities against participants of protest actions against pension reform on Monday, September 10, commented the official representative of German Chancellor Steffen Seibert (Steffen Seibert).

He saw, and his disturbing photos that show how tough the police treats children and adolescents. “We will closely monitor further developments – said Seibert. We have always advocated the right to freedom of expression and the right to participate in peaceful demonstrations”.

Commissioner of the Federal German government for intersocietal cooperation with Russia, countries of “Eastern partnership” and Central Asia, Dirk Wiese (Dirk Wiese) regrets that “many people are unable to exercise their right to participate in peaceful protests against the reform (of the pension. – Ed.) and that during the protests on Sunday were held in numerous detention.” He stated this answering a question of the correspondent DW.

“Putin’s system is faltering”

If you consider how much energy and ingenuity was shown by authorities to prevent the protests on the voting day on 9 September, the number still out in the streets of Russian cities is impressive, said in an interview with DW leading expert on Russia, German society for foreign policy (DGAP) Stefan Meister (Stefan Meister).

“We see the existence of protest potential in Russian society, the ability of people to organize themselves, he said. And I don’t think that this readiness to protest against pension reform will decline”. Personally to the Russian President Meister in these protests and threats do not see, but they, according to him, can become dangerous for the Russian authorities as such at the regional level.

“But just because the whole system in Russia sharpened the President and depends on the personal rating of Vladimir Putin – and this system begins to falter – there is a problem of legitimacy, which can become more acute, – the expert believes. – The protests could be even wider, which could prompt the Russian elite to question whether Putin is still the man who can guarantee the survival of the whole system.”

Sobyanin won with no real competition

If the regional elections in Russia, the German media and pay attention, it is only showing interest in the Moscow mayor. Tagesschau.de indicates that Sergei Sobyanin in this election there was virtually no real rivals because “the two major opposition candidate was disqualified, the municipal filter”.

Frankfurter Allgemeine recalls in this regard that five years ago he had to go to the second round, as suddenly a lot of votes in the first round was Alexei Navalny. At the same time, the newspaper said, “the elections were allowed only the representatives of the systemic opposition, Communist party members and nationalists”, Navalny is serving a 30-day period for calling for unsanctioned anti-government demonstrations.

Therefore, the Director of the Berlin Center for East European and international studies (ZOiS) Sasse Gwendolyn (Gwendolyn Sasse), an impressive result Sobyanin is not a figure. In fact the turnout this time was much lower than it was five years ago when participated in the election, Navalny, managed to get about a third of the votes.

“Elections of the mayor of Moscow has shown, first of all, one thing: there are gaps between policy loyal to the Kremlin and Sobyanin specific interests of the urban population, Sasse said in an interview with DW. – Whatever the election result, protests of Muscovites 2017 against the demolition of the Soviet five-story building, today’s protests against pension reforms and a General dissatisfaction with the situation in the social sphere of Moscow call into question Sobyanin’s legitimacy”.

Due to the tense budget situation, the discontent of the Muscovites and their social requirements in its forecast, will increase. “Such discontent should not be confused with a desire for regime change, says Sasse, but it limits room for manoeuvre in power persons.”

“United Russia” the victim of a protest vote?

Otherwise evaluates Sobyanin’s re-election Stefan Meister. “Sobyanin could visible a lot of things to do in Moscow, – says the expert. – Muscovites for the first time there was a feeling that their mayor is doing something for them and for the city, and he’s really made big changes in Moscow.”

But Meister advises not to overestimate the popularity of Sobyanin and his result in the elections, given the fact that, firstly, the turnout in Moscow was lower than five years ago, and, secondly, he didn’t have such a strong competitor like last time. But in those regions of Russia, he continued, where a serious alternative candidates were the result of “United Russia” was quite weak in some places have to carry out the second round.

But where the elections were virtually uncontested, the ruling party voted less voters than he had expected. “We see that tactics to ensure United Russia’s victory in the elections, not allowing them alternative candidates or only very weak, said Meister, this time not worked, where it was possible the vote was a protest”.

“There is nothing surprising in the fact that nothing surprising was not.” So the results of regional elections in Russia, commented Dirk Visa. According to him, already on the eve of voting “was erected appropriate barriers and the selection of candidates was extremely tough.” The relatively low result “an United Russia” he explains in the first of the planned pension reform.

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