January 18, 2013

There is growing opposition in Russia to a new law banning Americans from adopting Russian children. Some are even calling for the dissolution of the Duma, which enacted the law with Vladimir Putin’s approval in December.

These protests reflect a deep distrust of the Duma, The Heritage Foundation’s Ariel Cohen explains:

Many in Russia view the Duma as illegitimate, as allegations of fraud were rampant before, during, and after the recent elections. Foreign observers boycotted the polls, and the ruling party severely curbed parliamentary candidates’ access to media, funds, and other resources, such as assembly halls.

Brandishing signs calling members of both houses of the Russian legislature “scum,” the Russian people are voicing their obvious disapproval of the regime overexerting its power. Unfortunately, government overreach is nothing new for Russia:

History offers some important lessons to the situation at hand. Like 108 years ago, at the time of the 1905 First Russian Revolution, the regime is overstepping its boundaries. Both then and now, people want a dialogue with the government and reform, not bloodshed. However, the opposition’s arguments fall on deaf ears while the authorities become increasingly oppressive.

The unrest isn’t focused solely on the adoption law, Cohen says, and young people in particular are dissatisfied. These protests, he argues, could be part of a broader movement that could unseat the current leadership, which has now been in place for 13 years.

Do you think these protests are the beginning of a new Russian revolution?

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