Corruption Mobilizes Young Russians to Protest Over the Weekend

Mar 29, 2017

In Russia, even peaceful, one-person protests are illegal, and protestors are regularly detained under the country's harsh anti-demonstration laws. Yet, on Sunday, tens of thousands of Russians protested to show their anger at high-level corruption. 

University of Iowa sociology assistant professor Marina Zaloznaya says she's not surprised to see Russians organizing in the way they did over the weekend. 

"Russians have not been doing well economically. People's disposable income have been falling for the last few years," she says. "So, seeing the wealth being amassed by politicians is a growing point of contention." 

Zalonaya is the author of the forthcoming book The Politics of Bureaucratic Corruption in Post-Transitional Eastern Europe, and she says corruption is becoming a mobilizing issue for younger Russians. 

"The protestors are younger people. Putin's message about revival is not resonating with this specific group. These people were born in the Soviet period, and they don't have that same kind of nostalgia as their parents and grandparents have to earlier times in Russia." 

During this hour of River to River, she talks with host Ben Kieffer. University of Iowa professor of political science Bill Reisinger, and Grinnell College professor of political science Wayne Moyer, also join the conversation.