Unexpected for many protests in Khabarovsk began to decline, the authorities have already spoken out about this. One can impartially evaluate this extraordinary event.
Different versions of what is happening are now being put forward, from popular anger to protect the “people's” governor, ordering the governor’s entourage and attempts by local elites to maintain their places until possible the participation of foreign intelligence services. Everything is much simpler. First of all, it is necessary to figure out who benefits from this, how the protests were prepared and held, and who could lead them explicitly and implicitly.
I once had to organize thousands of protests and rallies. There is a certain regularity in their preparation and conduct. It is easy to determine by the form of the meeting, the forces participating in it, the slogans put forward and the requirements set forth that this is a spontaneous indignation of the people or a well-prepared “ordering”.
To the question of who benefits from this, the answer lies on the surface: the environment behind the arrested governor, who really runs the region. Furgal's arrest is just an excuse that some competently took advantage of, while others threw out their accumulated anger towards the authorities.
It’s not about Furgal’s personality, he has become just a symbol of disagreement of the population of the region with the dismissal of the governor elected by him in 2018 to the peak of a candidate imposed on him who, by his previous, to put it mildly, corrupt activities, gained contempt and dislike of those living in this territory.
Furgal did not shine with particular success, but with the help of his team he managed to create the image of a justice fighter, carried out a number of measures to reduce the cost of air transportation, conduct public procurements, removing the corrupt structures of the previous governor and improving the working conditions for local business. The people saw this and considered that they had made the right choice, and then suddenly Furgal was suddenly taken and removed.
Who is the Wagon
This is a middle-aged businessman who has made his business in scrap metal since the beginning of the 2000s and has nothing to do with the lawlessness of the 90s. He competently jumped on the bandwagon of the popular, as it were, protest party of the Liberal Democratic Party and was elected to the State Duma several times. He has a not-so-clean biography, but in this party there are quite a few such “chosen people,” and he came to the court there.
He performed the role of a technical candidate in the gubernatorial elections in 2018 and at the last moment refused to withdraw his candidacy. He was elected not as a person, but as a symbol of the protest movement of the population of the region against the previous governor. He did not quite suit the central government, allowed himself harsh statements and refused to follow the local representatives of United Russia, but for the time being they tolerated him.
There are many questions regarding his involvement in the murders of 15 years ago. Why were they silent for so long? After becoming the governor, he was allowed to access top-secret information related to many issues of civil defense, mobilization plans, emergency response, relations with the military and border guards, and at least had to have a second form of clearance. Obtaining such an admission requires a thorough examination by the authorities of the entire biography to the second knee, and his involvement in criminals could not have slipped away. He was approved by the Governor, which means that he passed the test. Apparently, involvement in the killings was a reason for removal from power, and the reason could be completely different.
Organization of protests
To organize a mass crowd on the streets of the city is not so simple. We always need a serious reason, able to stir people up and take them out into the street, and the group “started up”, calling and collecting people in a specific place. Two of these factors coincided: the removal of the “people's” governor aroused the population, and the Furgal team, apparently, got in time on time and launched a call for collection. Surely, this was supported by local elites, who were threatened by the change of governor with the loss of evil places, and by many inevitable resignation.
A “zavodil” group was thrown into the street with megaphones and pre-prepared posters. Seeing the first groups of people, already “charged with injustice”, the population began to join, the crowd began to grow like a snowball.
There are standard objective methods for assessing the number of protesters. Even according to police estimates, 10-12 thousand people took part in the protests. Usually the real figure is a little higher, that is, about 20 thousand took to the streets. For a half-million city, this is a lot. Without the attitude of the masses of the population to protest, no preparation and finances are able to gather so many people. This is an objective reality, and we must reckon with it.
Who was in the crowd? Naturally, the "ringleaders", they are easy to calculate by their actions. By the way, as soon as the crowd began to gather, law enforcement officers immediately had to send their people who would actively support the protesters and at the same time record who did what and what said. So the identities of these activists have probably already been established, and many of them will have “conversations”. The vast majority were ordinary people of different ages and, in appearance, of different social status, there were even people with small children. That is, the crowd did not count on serious opposition from law enforcement. From the faces and words of the protesters, it was clear that they sincerely support the slogans put forward and are ready to defend them, the “paid” ones behave in a completely different way, this can be clearly seen from the meetings of Navalny. The support of the protesters was evidenced by massive signals in cars, which also characterized the attitude of people.
What slogans were thrown into the crowd? It should not be forgotten that after Furgal was elected governor, the capital of the Far East was transferred from Khabarovsk to Vladivostok. Perhaps it just coincided in time, but the Khabarovsk residents took it as a revenge of the center for the protest vote. The main slogans and posters were aimed at protecting Furgal: “Freedom to Furgal”, “I, we, Furgal”, and to the center: “Shame on Moscow”, “We are the masters in our house”, “Return the capital to Khabarovsk”. Later, individual posters appeared “Down with the power of Moscow”, etc., the liberals had already adhered to their agenda, “Down with Putin,” but the population did not support them. Nevertheless, these posters were heavily advertised on resources controlled by them.
The preparation of the script can be judged by how the rallies were held. It is immediately obvious that there was no serious preparation. Usually in such cases an improvised tribune is prepared, sound-amplifying equipment, a meeting leader is appointed, and speakers prepare. None of this happened, they spoke on the steps of the administration building with weak megaphones in their hands, the speakers were far from speakers and did not offer anything concrete.
In order for the action to have a result, a resolution of the rally to the authorities with specific requirements is prepared in advance, this also was not done. People signed a statement about the release of Furgal, which does not oblige him to anything; in principle, it cannot be fulfilled until the investigation is completed and the trial is held.
All this suggests that there was a spontaneous indignation of the people, which, as a rule, always ends in nothing, if some power does not take control of it and directs it in the right direction. There was no such force, and popular anger went off the whistle.
Not a single political or social force took responsibility for the protests, and this was an excellent occasion to light up all over the country.
The position of Zhirinovsky was interesting. Furgal and all the associates of the governor prosecuted were members of the LDPR. It would seem that the finest hour has come for its leader - it would be possible to announce that Khabarovsk at the call of the LDPR stood up and supported his party. None of this happened, Zhirinovsky, like a frightened rat, hid in a corner, remained silent for two days, and only on the third day unintelligibly promised that the LDPR faction would leave the State Duma. This once again confirmed his "opposition": without a team from the Kremlin, he would not say a word too much. And his "blood comrade" Vladimir Solovyov on Monday in his program for an hour proved to everyone that Furgal was a pathological killer and his place was only in prison.
As soon as the information about the protests went, the liberal resources and the media began to jerk and scream that the people had revolted and would soon go to Moscow. Navalny joyfully gave out an interview that the Kremlin’s power was soon over, he saw himself, probably, behind the Kremlin wall.
Reaction to protests
What happened in Khabarovsk was an extraordinary event for Russian reality. For a long time already, thousands of people did not take to the streets in such mass numbers with sincere protest against the actions of the authorities. Perhaps they were mistaken in their appeals, but ignoring the will of the people so simply will not work, it is fraught with far-reaching consequences. Nobody, apparently, surrounded by Furgal did not expect such support and a surge of emotions.
Surely this was also a surprise for the Kremlin authorities: the arrest of some ordinary governor there, and so many emotions and such a reaction of the population! .. The protest had no specific political demands, there were no governing and directing headquarters capable of supporting the protests. They did not spread and could not spread to other regions, it was a local spontaneous phenomenon caused by the not-so-well-thought-out arrest of the governor. At the same time, the confusion of the central government from the unexpected mass of protest actions of the population was felt, this was not expected there.
How did the authorities react to the protests? The regional authorities and Furgal’s entourage kept silence, the mayor of Khabarovsk insisted on the need to observe quarantine in connection with the coronavirus, and the plenipotentiary envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Trutnev did not find anything clever to say and said that the leadership of the Khabarovsk Territory did not fulfill its obligations to attract investment in the region . In his understanding, apparently, only this led to protests. A spokesman for the president said the Kremlin understands the emotional message of the region’s residents, but very serious charges have been brought and the investigation should be monitored, and he warned of the danger of coronavirus infection. It can be seen, while there is an understanding of what happened, conclusions have not yet been made.
The arrests of governors and deputies took place earlier, recently they arrested journalist Safronov for "treason", detained the meaningless Platoshkin. Society basically reacted sluggishly to this. And here on the defense of the "killer" Furgal massively rose ordinary people! And the matter is not about the arrested governor, it was a reason for a surge of emotions, maybe he is guilty, people do not forgive the injustice and disregard of the bureaucratic attitude to their choice, and it must be respected.
The events in Khabarovsk showed that in an electrified society even an insignificant reason could become a trigger for serious unrest and upheaval that could destabilize the state and bring to civil conflict. Too many forces inside and outside the country, ready to seize and rekindle it. The authorities, political and social forces should ponder and take steps to find a way to reformat the state and its institutions in the interests of all sectors of society and stop the presumptuous elite building the state “for themselves”.