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The Finnish-Russian Civic Forum strives to promote cooperation between the peoples of Finland and Russia by supporting civic initiatives for democracy, human rights, and freedom of speech.



Political Defiance in Today’s Russia

In December 2011, tens of thousands of Russians went to the streets of Moscow and other cities to protest fraud at recent parliamentary elections. This was a shock to the regime as well as the opposition even though both had long been preparing for mass demonstrations.



“I Love Russia, But I Hate Putin”


In an interview with Spiegel, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, member of the Russian feminist punk collective, Pussy Riot, discussed the group’s political aims, why she believed there were limits to Vladimir Putin’s power, and how the “fight for our ideas and values” would continue. She said it was “not me, but the authorities who must be afraid.”


Manifesto of Free Russia


Russia’s united opposition movement has signed a “Manifesto of Free Russia,” which was first published in the blog of Boris Nemtsov, one of the leaders of the People’s Freedom Party (PARNAS). The manifesto outlines steps to free Russia of Vladimir Putin and his regime, and what to do after he is gone. The manifesto was read at the Russia Day demonstration in Moscow on 12 June 2012. Below, Jenya Belyaeva’s English translation of the manifesto:

When There Is No Going Back


“It has been almost 20 years since Russia saw so many people in the streets,” writes Masha Gessen in The International Herald Tribune’s Latitude blog. “The unmistakable sense that everyone is here, that no one is talking about anything but the protests, is distinctly reminiscent of the time 20 years ago,” she recalls.


Russian Libertine

It is dangerous to be a pro-Western dissident in Russia, and Victor Erofeyev is one who has been in trouble with the government since Soviet times. He has been accused of animosity towards Russia in court, and his opponents see him as the embodiment of Western democracy. With his bold and outspoken writings, he has committed the political murder of his diplomat father and continues his work at great risk to his life.


Nemtsov Warns of Revolution in Russia


Russia’s former deputy prime minister, now a leader of the country’s opposition, Boris Nemtsov, warned that his country was being pushed toward revolution by a new authoritarianism. A day after he was arrested for parading in Moscow on Russia’s Flag Day, Mr Nemtsov attacked Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, calling him a “son of the KGB who believes not in freedom but in dictatorship.”

“Putinism is a disaster for the country,” Mr Nemtsov said. “Putin is against freedom; he is afraid of the Russian people, he is afraid of a rally, he is afraid of the opposition, and he is afraid of elections. The Russian people are just so tired of Putin and his team that they will ultimately change the system. But the real danger for the country is that there will be a bloody revolution,” Mr Nemtsov warned.