Navalny’s volunteers: paid up PR-campaigns or a new political power?
A Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny intends to run for presidency in the upcoming elections to be held on March 18, 2018. To this end, his team has already opened 63 regional campaign offices. They perform three functions: agitation, training of observers and preparation for collection of signatures in support of the candidate. The collection of signatures and their verification will begin only on December 20, 2017 and will last until January 15, 2018. Navalny's volunteers and employees are now sorting out potential signatories, each staff member is required to involve from 4 to 15 thousand people. By July 26, the oppositionist’s website reported the work of 130.5 thousand volunteers throughout the country. More than 2000 volunteers work in the south of Russia, as offices' coordinators claim.
The “Caucasian Knot” correspondent visited five campaign offices: in Astrakhan, Volgograd, Krasnodar, Rostov-on-Don and Stavropol. His goal was to find out the motives of the followers of Alexei Navalny, what problems they hope to sole with the help of the opposition leader, if he comes to power, what ideas and campaign work attract young people and how this relates to the families and friends of volunteers. The correspondent also met some Navalny’s opponents in the regions - representatives of the Communist Party and the movement "All-Russian People's Front." They talked about their attitude to the opposition's struggle against corruption, analyzed the work of the volunteers and staffs of Navalny and expressed their opinions about what makes young people want to take part in the movement. At the same time, heads of regional offices of the party "United Russia" and representatives of the Cossacks, except for the Cossack organization of Stavropol, refused to express their opinions about the work of Navalny's offices in their cities.
Opening and activities of campaign offices
Navalny’s campaign offices have been launched almost simultaneously all together in the South of Russia - the first one was opened on March 24 in Volgograd, the last one - on April 28 in Astrakhan. But, despite this, the work of the offices and the results of the volunteers' work turned out to be diverse. By July 23, the best result on registering people who are ready to give their signatures in support of Navalny, have been obtained in the offices of Krasnodar and Rostov-on-Don, the poorest results have been found in Astrakhan. At the same time, the plan imposed on the offices with a deadline of up to December turned out to be practically completed by the end of July.
Astrakhan: Shortage of volunteers
The regional office in Astrakhan is located on 10, Sovetskaya Street, opened by Navanly’s companion, Leonid Volkov, on April 28.
158 volunteers have been registered by July 2, but only 20 of them provide active support to the offices. Volunteers participate in agitation events and gather information about future signatories. Agitation takes place in the form of picketing "cubes" on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, as the Astrakhan offices coordinator Ilya Dyakonov said to the “Caucasian Knot”.
According to him, there was no administrative and power pressure on the offices for a long time, there were no provocations, and this was the distinguishing feature of the work of the offices in Astrakhan. The only fact that it is located in the very center of the city, 100 meters away from the region’s administration, speaks for "undue loyalty of the local authorities," Dyakonov noted.
However, no application for a picket or rally in places acceptable to the campaigners has yet been approved by the city administration, Andrei Egorov, lawyer of the office, said to the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.
At the same time, according to the coordinator of the office, the main task of the organization's work in Astrakhan is to test sites where rallies and pickets are to be held, as well as to obtain permission for them. Employees of Navalny's campaign office also stated that they intend to hold protests against corruption and defend the right to their approval in court.
Among the active volunteers of the Astrakhan office there is a good deal of senior pupils, the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent reports.
Despite the fact that for a quite long time the office worked quietly, according to the information provided by Moscow office employee Alexander Tagirov to the correspondent of the "Caucasian Knot", by July 1, only 1791 potential signatories were registered in Astrakhan, and by July 23 - 2209 people out of 5000 needed until December, which is the worst result among the offices of the South of Russia. At the same time, in Volgograd, by July 1, there were 5141 people registered, and by July 23 - 6,701 people out of 10,000 potential signatories expected until December.
Volgograd: three times evicted without being noticed
The work of Navalny’s Volgograd campaign office was complicated by constant relocation, and its opening on March 24, attended by Alexei Navalny himself, was accompanied by provocations, confrontation with the Cossacks and pro-government activists.
The correspondent of the "Caucasian Knot" arrived at Navalny’s Volgograd office the day before his third eviction from the rented premises. Office members discussed the organizational issues of the event - a picketing "cube" – with the volunteers.
On the next day, June 7, during the campaign, the assistant to the office coordinator Anastasia Andreeva reported that on that day the owner of the premises where the office was located asked them to "immediately pick up their stuff and leave."
By July 2, the office had no premises, and all the organizational work "was held in the open air," that’s what the coordinator of the office, Alexei Volkov, told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent, noting that the staff had already registered about three hundred volunteers.
However, according to Anastasia Andreeva, only 15 people take an active part in the work of the office.
In his turn, the opponent, a member of the audit commission of the regional branch of the All-Russia People's Front, a political scientist Konstantin Glushenokzayavil, does not feel any impact of the office's activities.
"I simply do not see it, I do not feel it on myself, no one offers me interaction in the information space. Well, yes, there was a scandal with this opening of the office, but this story was made up in order to unleash itself in the media space, and nothing more", - he said, noting that some “big mistake” constituted an obstacle to the work of the office.
"Let people work. Let, as Deng Xiaoping said, a thousand lotuses blossom (the slogan "Let the hundred flowers blossom, let the hundred schools compete" was proclaimed by the Chinese leader Mao Zedong, – note of the "Caucasian Knot"), Konstantin Glushenok said.
Krasnodar: Putin’s "scorching" elderly
Navalny's Krasnodar campaign office was opened on April 8 in the downtown Krasnodar on Krasnaya street, house No. 165/1. On May 5, the contract with the owner of this premise was canceled, and the office moved to the neighboring building - house No. 145.
According to the coordinator of the office Miroslav Valkovich, 600 volunteers were registered at the office, but only one hundred of them still provide active assistance.
The coordinator also noted that the office is notable for the fact that it is often visited by representatives of the "Social Justice" organization which includes local pensioners. They call the oppositionist’s followers extremists and take away their stickers and posters.
"There is such an organization - "Social Justice". As they call themselves -an non-systemic support of the president. But we think that, in fact, they are unlikely to be supported by the authorities. They come - 30-40 people, sing weird songs. They don’t let us work. The first time they came, they took the campaign materials away, then they burned down everything and filmed that", Miroslav Valkovic told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.
The Krasnodar regional public movement "Social justice" has been operating since 1996. The Foundation renders charitable assistance to the poor and needy. At the moment, more than 3,500 families are registered in the foundation, and this number is growing steadily as years pass. The Foundation takes special care of more than 800 children. The organization is located at: Krasnodar, 6, Kurchatova str., as noted on the Foundation’s website.
The same address - Krasnodar, 6, Kurchatova str., accommodates another Public Movement "Putin’s Detachments." "We - the supporters of Putin- should unify our forces in a single fist in order dartingly push back against our enemies! The movement " Putin’s Detachments " was established in the city of Krasnodar by the decision of citizens who support the political course of our President, " as stated on the organization's website.
As reported by the "Caucasian Knot", on July 4, the office of Alexei Navalny in Krasnodar was destroyed after it was visited by members of so called "Putin's detachments". The activists called the police. The riots were provoked by oppositionists, head of "Putin's detachments" Marat Dinaev asserts.
At the same time, despite these operational difficulties, according to the employee of Navalny’s Moscow office Alexander Tagirov, by July 1, Navalny's office in Krasnodar registered 5,513 potential signatories, and by July 23 - 11,708, which is the best result in the South of Russia. Thus, the office exceeded the plan by 6000 people.
Daily routine of Navalny’s Stavropol office after the attack
The day of opening of Navalny's campaign office in Stavropol on April 9 was marked with protests of some young people and representatives of Cossack organizations.
On the night of June 10, all the windows glass smashed out, a bottle with an incendiary mixture was thrown, which, incidentally, did not cause a fire. Investigators seized laptops from staff members, and partially paralyzed the work of the office, coordinator Yaroslav Sinyugin told the correspondent.
As he said, force pressure was supplemented with bad weather. Due to frequent torrential rains only two pickets were held in the two months. Over the same time, the office registered more than one thousand visitors. About 600 of them expressed a desire to help the staff, but only 82 volunteers provide active assistance, he said.
As of July 1, the Stavropol office registered 1993 potential signatories, and by July 23 – only 3,092 out of the required 4000, an employee of Navalny's Moscow office Alexander Tagirov told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.
Navalny offices work more efficiently in other regions, because in our region its activity is slightly above zero.
At the same time, Vasily Balditsyn, the head of the Stavropol Union of Journalists and the acting secretary of the Union of Journalists of Russia, claimed that Navalny’s office work in Stavropol was absolutory insignificant.
“I did not see any opportunities for Navalny's office to influence anything. I just can’t imagine what it could be. The only public action held by Navalny's office, apparently, at the call of its big patron, was a picket, or a rally. And there was not a single significant figure in the public field. There were unknown young and very young people in a small number with standard slogans. It is rumored that students who attended the mass events, were paid a certain fee for it. There were five or six unknown speakers. Therefore, it is unlikely that these people would be able to exert any influence on the political life, "said Vasily Balditsyn.
He also noted that most of the media did not even react to this campaign. "Not because someone forbade them, but because it was meaningless. The background, which was created around the attempt to set fire to their office was also some sort of unimpressive. We are already so used to the fact that people like to set themselves on fire ... We already faced this during the election campaign, when one alternative candidate seemed to be set on fire, but wasn’t burned (in Minvody). I believe that in other regions Navalny’s offices work more efficiently, because in our region its activity is slightly above zero," he noted.
Sergei Savchenko, the ataman of the Stavropol Cossack Society, claimed that he had no idea that there was Navalny's office in Stavropol.
“I did not hear anything about those campaigns or attacks. Once heard from a Cossack, he asked: "And what is your opinion on that?" And that's it. Cossacks are on duty usually on promotions, as vigilantes. I’ve never seen Navalny’s followers during such duty. I do not support indiscriminateness. We have no urban problems. The roads are being made. The city is being cleaned. There have been no interethnic conflicts for a long time, "he said.
Rostov office: what hinders- political apathy or FSB?
The opening of Navalny's campaign office in Rostov-on-Don on April 8 took place under the pressure of the FSB and the local Cossacks. The FSB asked the meeting participants to leave the Hall of the Railwaymen's Palace under the guise of conducting unplanned exercises, and the Cossacks tried to block the entrance to the building of the Hermitage Hotel, where the organizers of the office planned to hold this special event.
According to Elena Kulikova, the coordinator of the regional office (who was the coordinator of Navalny's office in Rostov-on-Don at the time of the correspondent's visit, - note of the “Caucasian Knot”), the pressure of the Kremlin's powerbrokers and the Cossacks lapsed after that: "since then, there were no incidents and provocations at Navalny's Rostov office. This distinguishes our city from other troubled regions of southern Russia".
The second distinctive feature of Rostov, according to Kulikova, was the political apathy of Rostov citizens. "The city is politically calm", she noted.
The Rostov office is located in a one-story brick house No. 338 in Tekuchev street near the racecourse. Staff members said that by July 2, 350 people have been registered as volunteers and 32 volunteers show increased activity - participating in the office’s campaigns.
Navalny’s followers conduct three picketing "cubes" per week - on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Disputes and games are an often amusement at the office, the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent reports.
By July 1, 4,821 potential signatories have been registered in Rostov-on-Don, and by July 23 - 8933 of 10,000 required by the plan by December, an employee of Navalny Moscow office Alexander Tagirov told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.
Pressure on Navalny offices and detention of volunteers
Volunteers of Navalny's offices regularly declare provocations: both by different groups of citizens and by the police. Yet they do not intend to stop their activities.
For a long time the Astrakhan office have been working without major incidents, but things changed in the beginning of July.
According to volunteers, on July 6, policemen searched the office of Alexei Navalny's in Astrakhan and seized leaflets and other materials. The representatives of the office called the search groundless and sent a complaint to the prosecutor's office. And on July 20, unidentified people in Astrakhan broke down a car belonging to Navalny.
Volunteers of the Rostov and Krasnodar offices, who conduct their campaigns more often than not, spoke of the difficulties in carrying out campaign work.
Thus, on June 18, policemen took explanations from Elena Kulikova, who conducted a single picket, and two volunteers of Navalny's office in Rostov-on-Don, who were photographing the picket. On July 12, the court found all three of them guilty of violating the procedure for holding a group picket. The former coordinator of the office Elena Kulikova and Fedor Laptev were fined 20,000 roubles, and Anastasia Deineka was punished with compulsory community service.
In turn, Navalny's Krasnodar office reported on July 8 that during a campaign in support of Alexei Navalny in Krasnodar law enforcers detained a volunteer who spent several hours at a police-station, after which he was released. According to the activists, the police seized the propaganda materials he had at hand.
For a long time Volgograd office has been limited in its actions due to frequent eviction from rented premises and a lawsuit against its coordinator Alexei Volkov, the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent reports.
Stavropol office originally was under worst-case conditions, the only one opened in the North Caucasus Federal District. Workers of the office and volunteers faced quite tough resistance from their opponents. Also, the work of the office was paralyzed by unfavorable weather conditions and the investigation of an attempted arson of the office building. And on July 13, police stopped the car belonging to Yaroslav Sinyugin, the coordinator of the Stavropol office, when he was transporting the agitation materials received from Moscow. According to Sinyugin, MIA employees seized 14,000 newspapers and 48,000 leaflets.
Up to date, it is impossible for Navalny followers to have any career motivations or self-regarding interests, claimed Anton Prikhodko, the 25-year-old volunteer of Navalny's office in Rostov-on-Don, who graduated from the university with a degree in philosophy and who works in a call-center of one of the local telecommunications companies.
There can not be any selfish interests, because Navalny’s followers are, unfortunately, strictly persecuted.
"They all are the idealists, if I may say so. And then there can not be any selfish interests, because Navalny’s followers are, unfortunately, strictly persecuted.. If we declare pickets, we are sent to some impassable places in the city in order to deprive people from any chance to know about us. If we declare rallies, these rallies are tried to be kept silent to the maximum, the press is forced not to go to them, not to cover them in any way. If we start agitation for these rallies, then all state-funded organizations receive some orders, instructions that prohibit employees of these organizations from appearing at these rallies. Schoolchildren and students are under the heaviest pressure. They are threatened with deductions, illegal sanctions. Therefore, at this stage, there can be no career motives. That does not exclude the fact that they can appear in the future, if we do change the situation and tell the world about us", the volunteer explained.
"Something needs to be changed in our country": what makes Navalny‘s ideas attractive?
Despite the complexity of the work of Navalny's offices, they continue to attract followers and new volunteers. The volunteers, interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot’s" correspondent, named the film "He Is Not Dimon to You" among the reasons for supporting the opposition movement, and the fight of Navalny with corruption, the difficult economic situation in Russia and the dispersal of the opposition rally on Bolotnaya Square on May 6, 2012. They also expressed interest in the oppositionist's speeches concerning the current authorities, and noted the decent people that gathered at the offices.
It was the film "He Is Not Dimon to You" that pushed 17-year-old Artem Terbalyan and Vano Burdjanian to join Alexei Navalny's movement, who took part in the activities of the opposition's Astrakhan offices from the first days of its existence, as well as another volunteer of the Rostov offices, Vadim Kobzev.
"I’ve heard about Navalny before the events of March 26 and before the publication of the film "He Is Not Dimon to You". Though back then I did not take him seriously. Well, it was just that he was an oppositionist for me, not very famous, not so remarkable. But this film was something amazing to me. Though I refused to watch the film for a long time. Only later, when I decided, I became very interested in his personality, and I learned that a campaign was being prepared for March 26. I came there. When it was over, I was very surprised by the number of people who came there in big cities of Russia. That inspired me", Artem Terbalyan told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondnet.
According to another volunteer of the Navalny’s office, Vano Burdjanian, he also decided that "something needs to be changed" after watching the film "He is not Dimon to You".
"My classmates told me about the film "He is not Dimon to You". At first I did not want to watch it, but after watching it I was convinced that something needs to be changed in our country. Then I took part in the rally on March 26. After that I began to take part in the cubes, in agitation. At school we discuss the problems of our country. It may seem frivolous, but even children have their own opinion about politics - about the choice of the president, about the choice of their future," he explained, noting that his parents regard his political opinion rather neutrally, neither positively nor negatively".
A volunteer of Navalny’s Rostov office, student Vadim Kobzev also noted that his interest in the activities of the opposition was influenced by the film " He Is Not Dimon to You." "I recently watched the movie "He Is Not Dimon to You". I got interested in the activities of Navalny, read his electoral program, and decided to come to the office, to meet his followers, to talk to people. And it really got me interested. I decided to help, now I'm a volunteer," he explained to the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.
A 19-year-old student of Volgograd State University Maria Evtyunina and Elvira Tarasenko, an entrepreneur with 20 years of experience - are volunteers of Navalny's office in Volgograd - stated that, among other things, in Navalny’s program they were impressed by the idea of the change of power.
I like many of Navalny’s ideas. I don't agree with him on some issues, but for the most part I like the way he talks, the things he says.
"I stand favor of a change of power. I consider myself a Democrat. I like many of Navalny’s ideas. I don't agree with him on some issues, but for the most part I like the way he talks, the things he says. I agree with that. I know many guys who work here. We have many similar opinions. I like the society of such active people, tuned to positive changes in our country, who are not indifferent to their future. Therefore, I often appear at the office, I lead an active volunteer life", Maria Evtyunina told the" Caucasian Knot" correspondent.
According to her, she is engaged in agitation at the office of Navalny. "I brought many people to the office. We conduct various lectures. We thought to open a circle of debates. The office is not only engaged in agitation, but also in cognitive activities. At the beginning of the campaign, I registered volunteers. I talked to them, answered their questions. Now I'm taking part in the cubes, "Maria Evtyunina said.
We have a Constitution, which specifies the provisions on a change of power. So please, provide us with a change of power. If we don't like Navalny as a president, we will re-choose another leader. But let this process be.
"My husband and I have long been following the activities of Alexei Navalny. We have a Constitution, which specifies the provisions on a change of power. So please, provide us with a change of power. If we don't like Navalny as a president, we will re-choose another leader. But let this process be", Elvira Tarasenko explained to the correspondent of the"Caucasian Knot".
I decided to join the oppositionist due to the "difficult economic situation in our country", a 27-year-old economist Roman Inozemtsev, one of the volunteers of Navalny's office in Krasnodar, told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.
"We have a difficult economic situation in our country. I see how many people are not able to decently support themselves and their families. At the same time, there is an insolent silence about the whole situation. That is, people do not discuss this, and if they do, they do not take any action. That's why I was impressed by what Alexei Anatolyevich does. And I decided to join him", Roman Inozemtsev told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.
A 27-year-old feminist Victoria Veter works as a freelancer. She decided to join Navalny’s Stavropol office because "there are interesting people".
"It's nice to talk to them, it's nice to deal with them. I was interested in the activities of Navalny even before the campaign. I wondered why a man expresses his attitude to the current government so boldly. We have a feminist club in the city, and we held pickets. And one picket ended up with a 20 thousand rouble fine for the organizer, because we were not allowed to picket at Lenin Square - even singly, even if people stand in different places. We thought about how to protect ourselves and what to do in the future? And then gradually we came to the office, here, "she told the "Caucasian Knot"correspondent.
According to Anton Prikhodko, a 25-year-old volunteer at the Navalny's office in Rostov-on-Don, he became an oppositionist since watching reports about the dispersal of the opposition rally on Bolotnaya Square on May 6, 2012.
I believe that there should be a pluralism of opinions, one should not prosecute people for the independence of thought. Especially so barbarously, as it is done in Russia. At that I agree with Navalny.
"The cruelty of the dispersal of the procession has impressed me so much that since when I have adhered to the opposition views and sincerely do not understand why these views are being prosecuted. There was no ideological breakdown. I believe that there should be a pluralism of opinions, one should not prosecute people for the independence of thought. Especially so barbarously, as it is done in Russia. At that I agree with Navalny", Anton Prikhodko told the correspondent of the "Caucasian Knot".
Anton Prikhodko also noted that he could be disappointed in Aleksey Navalny, "just like in any other person". "He is not perfect, and I do not support him on all points of the program. He is a man, and I am a man. I can change my views depending on this or that situation. Though it has not happened yet", he said.
"For me, Navalny was rather dubious before, but now I learn more about him and I am ready to support him always and everywhere", said the volunteer of Navalny's office in Rostov-on-Don, the individual entrepreneur Anna Eremeeva.
Parents and friends of volunteers support them, worry about them, call them fools
According to Navalny’s volunteers, relatives and friends have different attitudes towards their activities. Some are fortunate enough to have a similar point of view with their family members, but most of them note that parents are very worried about their participation in the activities at the opposition's offices, because they are afraid of trouble at work, problems with law enforcement agencies. Some volunteers’ parents support the ruling party and call children "fools". At the same time, some of Navalny's followers try to avoid confrontation on the matter of politics or even avoid talking about it.
Volunteer from Rostov-on-Don Vadim Kobzev said about the negative attitude of some friends to his activities.
"Some of my friends disapprove my actions, although I tried to convey that they were correct. Parents, rather, disfavor me, because they worry about me. They’ve got their reasons. In our country, after the participation of people in rallies on March 26 and June 12 both administrative and criminal cases have been initiated”, he explained.
Anna Eremeeva, a volunteer from Rostov-on-Don, claimed that she was under pressure and that this worried her relatives.
"On March 26, they came to my house, set the whole neighborhood astir, began to call my parents, brought a summons...", Anna Eremeeva said, adding that police officers were the ones who brought the summons.
"They accused me of participation in an unsanctioned event. For half a minute I performed. This was my first rally. I never spoke in public before. The fine was 15 thousand roubles. On June 1, I had my first appeal", she said.
According to the girl, her friends support her, but her parents are worried. "Parents are very worried, because we have a lot of public officials in the family, and they ask: let us finish it before retirement", she explained.
“Alexei Navalny is the only real alternative to the existing power in Russia”, a 19-year-old chemistry student Pavel, who volunteered for Navalny's Stavropol office. He refused to give his last name.
"Parents laugh at this, they don’t take it seriously. But obstacles are not built at all. Most friends turn their backs on me, they don’t want to take part or take the situation seriously. But there are friends who support me. We came here together and continue support the movement", he said.
The political views of another volunteer of Navalny's office in Stavropol Victoria Veter are supported by her brother, however, as the girl said, her mother is member of the United Russia party, and hence she does not share the views of her daughter and son and calls her children "fools".
At the same time, one of the youngest volunteers of Navalny's office in Krasnodar, 18-year-old Natalya Kuleshova, noted that her mother, despite her work in the state institution, has nothing against her activities.
"My mother works in a state-funded institution, in a polyclinic, she has little time, it is not welcomed [to engage in politics] there. She has nothing against it. When I was at school, I participated [as a volunteer] in local events organized by the administration. Friends treat my views tolerably. My position: if I really want, or if anyone really wants - he can change everything around him", Natalia Kuleshova told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.
According to Kuleshova, her boyfriend "partially shares her position".
A 25-year-old volunteer of Navalny's office in Rostov-on-Don Anton Prikhodko told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent that he is not afraid to spoil relations with his parents.
"I don’t worry about my parents. We have similar views, except for father, an ardent Communist. And even with him we found a compromise that, if there is a second round of elections, he will vote for Navalny. As for friends, I talk to them about politics, because I simply cannot stop talking about it, I try not to take it out personally. I try to find a compromise with my friends. Because all views have the right to exist", said Anton Prikhodko.
According to him, Navalny is supported by the overwhelming majority of his entourage.
"There are those, including my friends, who do not support him, they are supporters of the current power. And this is not a reason for us to stop being friends. They have the right to their point of view. And I do not blame them for that", he said.
According to Prikhodko, civil confrontation may take place if it is initiated by the authorities.
"If elective institutions work, just as they should under democracy, we can not talk about any split, because everything is accessible to everybody. If the split is initiated by the authorities: be it persecution, be it arrests or demonstration courts, then in this case there will be a split. Well, most importantly, propaganda - has a huge impact on people’s minds. If the TV produces the things it produces now, then in this case there will be a split. Because there are those who are not subject to this propaganda, and those who are exposed to it", he said.
Navalny’s young followers seek for a real picture of the world on the Internet and think about corruption
Most volunteers of Alexei Navalny, interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot’s" correspondent, are young people under 30 years old, including schoolchildren. The volunteers noted an active discussion of the oppositionist's ideas on the Internet as one of the reasons for the participation of youth in Navalny’s movement, where, in their opinion, unlike television, one can find "real life pictures." They also believe that Navalny and his program will be able to solve such problems of the regions as: corruption, high utility rates, bad roads, inefficient spending of budget funds and medicine related problems.
According to the official website of Alexei Navalny, his three-page program consists of six basic points, including the point on the decision-making by the majority in the regions and not in Moscow. "More taxes should remain in the corresponding regions, not in Moscow. Local self-government bodies should get more rights and resources to solve the problems of people "on earth". 95% of everyday life issues are related to local matters. The local authorities should have money and authority to solve these problems", the program says.
Internet as a means of attracting young people to Navalny
A new generation has grown up, which is no longer apolitical, and it wants to take part in the discussion of political issues and is ready to defend its point of view, and on that 17-year-old volunteers of Navalny's Astrakhan office are sure. At the same time, according to Viktoria Veter, the volunteer of Navalny’s Stavropol office, the activities of the oppositionist are useful for young people, since he was the one who managed to encourage the schoolchildren and students around the world, and made them switch off from "toys and series".
"Since Navalny is oppressed, he can only push his ideas through the Internet. And the youth is actually interested in the Internet, as people can hardly trust television now, given what kind of nonsense comes from there. The youth was called apolitical about five years ago. A lot has changed since then. This generation wasn’t brought up listening to the TV claiming that everything was alright in this country; it was raised seeing the real picture of life that can be observed on the Internet. And it is now becoming the most active part of the population in such political issues, "volunteer of Navalny’s Astrakhan office, 17-year-old Artem Terbalyan, told the "Caucasian Knot’s" correspondent.
Since Navalny is oppressed, he can only push his ideas through the Internet. And the youth is actually interested in the Internet.
The volunteer of Navalny’s Astrakhan office also noted that in the city where he lives his whole life, there is almost no change for the better. "I was born here. 17 years have passed. In fact for 17 years the city has not changed for the better. And I do not really like it. Several shopping centers were built, the embankment was paved. Of course, they can boast of this, but I do not see any special achievements in this, because life in the city has not changed much. There are not enough jobs, the average salary is not very high", he said.
At the same time, the young man noticed that his family experienced "no effect from the economic crisis" and faced "no serious problems". "But it's not just about money. If everything is good in our family, it does not mean that everything is good for the rest", Artem Terbalyan said.
As an example, he referred to "endangered" villages of the Penza region, where his relatives live - "there are no jobs associated with production, people can only get accidental earnings".
According to Artem Terbalian, one of the problems in Astrakhan is the attitude towards Navalny "Well, take, for example, the attitude towards our organization. We did not get a chance to hold public events. The reasons were literally fabricated. For example, they didn’t let us make an event on June 12 since all the sites were said to be crowded. “We watched the recordings from the security cameras - all the grounds were empty at that time", Artem Terbalyan said.
Another 17-year-old volunteer of Navalny's Astrakhan office, Vano Burdjanian, noted that Alexei Navalny had "a worthy election campaign, which helped him earn the trust of many people, including the youth".
No one forced us. We chose Alexei Navalny ourselves. We decided to support him at our own will.
"No one forced us. We chose Alexei Navalny ourselves. We decided to support him at our own will. Many people consider us as black sheep. Many laugh, they say: why? Many classmates and comrades are simply apolitical people. I think this is wrong. If we are indifferent to our power, then nothing will change in our life, and it is possible that in 2020 many countries will have a strong economy, and we will remain at the same level. At school we have three categories of people: people who criticize power, people who are satisfied with power, and people who are not satisfied with either side. Most of them are rather apolitical", - Vano Burdjanian said.
According to him, some teachers "called Navalny’s followers fools". "They said that we are doing this in vain. Here, they say, in the 90's we tried to change the country, and we did change it for the worse. And what is going to happen now? We often discuss that at school", the volunteer said.
According to Victoria Veter, the activities of the oppositionist are useful for young people.
"In my generation, we used to be absolutely non-political, not to be interested in anything, to consider that this is a dirty boring affair and let someone else do it. But with the arrival of Navalny people are beginning to be interested. And, in fact, it’s not just than just kids, teenagers at rallies. This leads to the fact that children, teenagers begin to read everything - Platon's works, marketing textbooks, they are beginning to be interested in the world around them, instead of playing toys or watching series", - the 27-year-old Victoria Veter explained.
At the same time Navalny’s followers said that they are not afraid to be disappointed in his personality and ideas.
"Anything can happen, our whole life is made of contradictions", Vano Burdjanian said.
"Of course, it may be that while fighting corruption, we are helping other thieves, but this does not mean that corruption does not need to be fought", Artem Terbalyan added.
According to Victoria Veter, people are disappointed in the process of life and do not have to be a schoolboy to be disappointed. "Sometimes adults overestimate their values too. Now there are a few people who are somehow interested in the real world", she said.
The problem of corruption in Russia and the redistribution of the budget
Almost all interviewed volunteers stated about the problems of corruption and the theft of budgetary funds to the correspondent of the "Caucasian Knot". In their view, misappropriation of allocated funds is facilitated, among other things, by improper budget planning and the lack of autonomy of the regions.
The volunteer of the Astrakhan office Vano Burdjanian is sure that Navalny can solve first of all the problem of "the most severe corruption of the authorities of the Astrakhan region".
"Someone should already dot all i's and cross all t's. Payment of utility rates is also a problem. But everything begins with the supreme authority - the rot starts from the top", he said.
According to volunteer Elvira Tarasenko, Alexey Navalny is able to actually stop the thieves.
We do not want to vote for the existing power.
"He will stop the thieves. He will pay budget funds to the economy of our country, all petrodollars, not to America, as the current government does. In Volgograd, there are very literate economists who are not consciously listening to the current regional authorities. They refer to it, I know for sure, but they do not listen. These economists say: they do not listen to us because they came here to deflate money from the region, and not to bring something. We drive to Erzovka, but we wouldn’t be able to get there if it's muddy. What does it speak for? The fact the power is in the hands of wrong people. Therefore, we do not want to vote for the existing power", she told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.
The young volunteer Pavel claimed that he is not satisfied with corruption in universities and he hopes to solve this problem.
"Corruption in universities. And this is the basis of the state. Bribery. I have a burning sense of justice. The country has great potential, but everything disappears into nowhere, from people that allows such authorities to exist. They are simply wasting their potential, let's just say that", he said.
The volunteer of the local office of the opposition leader Maria Evtunina stated that Navalny’s program and, in particular, its item on the redistribution of the budget, will help to solve the problem of public transport, low salaries, high unemployment among youth in Volgograd.
He has a program. Throughout Russia, these regional problems are cumulatively resolved. First, at the federal level, the budget is being considered. A lot depends on the redistribution of the budget.
"He has a program. It’s on the site. Throughout Russia, these regional problems are cumulatively resolved. First, at the federal level, the budget is being considered. A lot depends on the redistribution of the budget. I believe that if we don’t let to seal from the regional budget, everything will be much better. We, in principle, we have money in Russia, they’re just in wrong hands. If they are properly redistributed, then very many problems will be solved", the girl believes.
Roman Inozemtsev, the volunteer of Navalny's Krasnodar office, considers inadequate distribution of incomes and expenses as the main problem of the region.
"I’ve got a degree in finance and I know how to calculate the budget. If we look at the budget of the Krasnodar Territory, it is close to bankruptcy. We’ve had a deficit for years, we have a huge debt burden. Apparently, our expenses do not correlate with income. And I think those expenses were ineffective. And who will pay off those debts? Yes, you and I. We will pay taxes and fees, without getting anything in return, "Roman Inozemtsev told the “Caucasian Knot’s” correspondent.
He also expressed confidence that Navalny will be able to solve this problem.
"Look. First, as soon as there is a tight control over spending, the efficiency of the same road construction will be immeasurably better. In addition, a number of unnecessary items can be avoided. 2.75 billion roubles was spent on organizing the Formula 1 racing. The Olympics was also financed by the regional budget. Now the region participates in financing of the construction of facilities for the World Cup. And we still don’t understand why", - stressed the volunteer.
The city's budget shall remain within the city. All enterprises that are located in the city shall belong to it, and the incomes of these enterprises shall remain in the region.
Natalya Kuleshova, the volunteer of Navalny's office in Krasnodar, believes that: "The main part of Alexey Navalny's program is the decentralization of power, the redistribution of the budget not from the center, from the lord's shoulder, and the transfer of money to those who bribe them. The city's budget shall remain within the city. All enterprises that are located in the city shall belong to it, and the incomes of these enterprises shall remain in the region. This is my personal position. The roads in Volgodonsk are disgusting. Under the new system of redistribution, this is not going to happen".
Stavropol volunteer Victoria Veter noticed that one of the points of Navalny’s program is to give more freedom to the regions. "If the local government is strong itself, then Stavropolsky krai may get richer as well", she said.
The volunteer of the Rostov office Vadim Kobzev shares Navalny’s opinion that it is necessary first to solve federal problems - to curb corruption, to defeat poverty, to introduce such a financial management system when money "reaches the final addressee" - education, medicine, housing and communal services, roads.
"For me, the main problem in Rostov is roads. And especially - runoff water system. Maybe you heard that last year we had a heavy rain, and on June 30, a girl died in the center of the city. The child was dragged by a stream of water under the cars, and she could not get out. A year has passed. The authorities have not done anything with the runoff water system. I'm watching this. They promise to fix the runoff water system only by December 31 this year. I think this is unacceptable. Since this tragedy happened, the problem had to be solved immediately, so that there would be no such cases", the volunteer said indignantly.
Vadim Kobzev thinks that the vulnerability of power is associated with inefficient financial management.
At the same time, in his opinion, there is money to solve problems. "I think there are certain funds, but they do not go for it. We constantly replace the tiles. They are going to completely replace the new tile on Bolshaya Sadovaya street again. They also saw the trees there, although they are not recognized as emergency ones. And they could have stood still for dozens of years", Kobzev said.
Anna Eremeeva listed the problems of Shakhty - her hometown - low salaries of medical personnel at hospitals and polyclinics, problems of housing and communal services and uncontrollable management companies. In her opinion, these problems are of a systemic nature.
"As far as I can see, Navalny’s program has not been fully formulated. I hope that it will take into account the fact that it will be necessary to recruit competent specialists who will control the management companies, because at the moment no one controls them", the girl thinks.
Potilical opponents consider Navalny as a fortune-seeker
However, Navalny’s opponents - representatives of public organizations and parties - questioned the opposition's ability to solve problems of corruption and regional problems. At the same time, the heads of regional branches of the "United Russia" party and a number of Cossack organizations in all five cities refused to answer the oral and written requests of the correspondent. Moreover, the heads of the Rostov regional branch of the Communist Party refused to interview.
Navalny’s opponents, who agreed to a conversation with the correspondent of the "Caucasian Knot", pointed to the "artificiality" of the political struggle of the opposition leader. Special criticism was voiced in regard to the fact that the protest campaigns, organized by Navalny, consisted of schoolchildren.
According to Khalit Aitov, Secretary of the Committee for Organizational and Personnel Work of the Astrakhan Regional Committee at the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation: “Navalny's appeal to youth is "adventurous".
"Navalny attracts young people to organize specific campaigns at a time. He’s not always honest, I must say. Attraction of schoolchildren aged 15-16 years for political protest campaigns, which speak of some serious progress in society, is a very dubious action. They do not clearly understand their protest. Navalny’s findings are very questionable, they cost a lot of money. His appeal to youth is adventurous", he said.
He brings people to the streets under the aegis of the fight against corruption, but we do not see any program - neither regional, nor federal one, nor responsibility for young people being taken to the streets, Ivan Zhilischikov said, a member of the Bureau of the Regional Committee at the Communist Party, a deputy of the Krasnodar Territory, the first secretary of the Komsomol.
We stand for all good and against all bad. There is nothing else. If you take people out on the streets, especially young people, you must bear responsibility for them. And he does not bear any responsibility. This is a political PR.
"The program of Mr. Navalny and his team does not exist in principle, as such, so I can not talk about any positive or negative nature of the program. The fight against corruption - yes, well. We stand for all good and against all bad. There is nothing else. If you take people out on the streets, especially young people, you must bear responsibility for them. And he does not bear any responsibility. This is a political PR. The same youth who do not understand why it goes to these streets, they came for justice, they do not associate their future with this country, which is now in such a condition. But Mr. Navalny and his followers will not give anything. And this will never happen", Ivan Zhilishchikov emphasized.
In his view, Navalny has "a simple program following Ukraine's example: lustration, decommunization, liberalization". "This will definitely lead to violence. The specificity of our region is such that any state system that comes to us in the region comes for a long time. It was one of the last regions where the Soviet government came and then one of the last regions, where it was removed. It is a conservative region. The population lives comparatively well with other regions and is well fed. Any coup d'état on the territory of Krasnodar Krai will lead to the fact that some will be hanged by the neck, and in all other respects our beloved 90s will come again, though it’ll be ten times worse", he said.
At the same time, the Astrakhan and Krasnodar communists, when speaking about the correct work with the youth, referred to examples of their own activities in the regions. According to the communists, they were carried out smoothly and systematically.
"The Communist Party has been systematically training young employees for many years. As a result - the organization of the Center for Political Studies, which is held for the second time every year for three months with the involvement of candidates, doctors of science. They give the political skills and knowledge for the youth absolutely free of charge. Upon completion, the students receive certificates of education (diplomas). I'm not talking about sports, protest activities. The Communist Party has recently rejuvenated its composition. The Komsomol group consists of 92 people. Well, these are active members. Many young children became leaders of the district groups of the party. Four out of six secretaries of the regional party committee are young people... The protestant romance will always be in the souls, in the hearts of the youth. The whole question is who, why, and how it uses it, for what purpose", Khalit Aitov told the "Caucasian Knot’s" correspondent.
According to Ivan Zhilishchikov, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation in the Krasnodar Territory has 1.5 thousand Komsomol members from 14 to 18 years old. "The Komsomol group involves 400 people. We are present at 32 municipalities out of 44. Five thousand members of the Communist Party, 500 primary party organizations", he said.
Opponents also argue that within the state, with the help of the so-called systemic opposition successfully, they have implemented anti-corruption campaign and call Navanly’s findings as a self-promotion.
"As for the fight against corruption. Everyone is struggling with corruption, starting with the main corrupt officials. Therefore, the measures proposed by Navalny and his team can not lead to any result. Everything he writes, he writes in vein. No corrupt person was removed. Therefore, I think that this is nonsense. One needs the will in order to overcome corruption,... And in order to keep more budget funds in the region, well, it is always discussed at the local level. We always want to have well-administered, saturated sources. I consider this as a populist guide, and nothing more. I do not know if it's good or bad", said Vasily Balditsyn, secretary of the Union of Journalists of Russia.
Everyone is struggling with corruption, starting with the main corrupt officials. Therefore, the measures proposed by Navalny and his team can not lead to any result.
Konstantin Glushenok, a member of the Revision Commission of the Volgograd Branch at the All-Russian People’s Front, says “Navalny promotes anti-corruption activities, like many others, but there is nothing that would stand him out”.
"On his banner he wrote - "Anticorruption activity". If you start with moral guidelines, the court found that Navalny unfairly sold part of the property of this notorious "Kirovless". Secondly, the European Court of Human Rights did not consider this decision of the Russian court politicized. Therefore, before you engage in such a noble cause, you need to have a good reputation, at least. This is alarming in the activities of people like Navalny. There are a lot of them now - all anti-corruption committees, commissions, subcommissions. But he has more scope, "he explained to the" Caucasian Knot" correspondent.
According to a member of the Audit Commission of the regional branch at the All-Russian People’s Front, his movement is also successfully working against corruption. "Let us take Nikolayenko (Nikolai Nikolayevich), for example. He consistently conducts work in the Srednyaya Akhtuba district. He has already launched a number of land and utility cases. The recent resignation and detention of the deputy head of the Central Akhtuba is a vivid confirmation of this. And there will be more. We keep a consecutive activity that does not show up", he said.
Konstantin Glushenok is sure that “In general, if we talk about corruption, we need to offer the corresponding mechanisms, including the ones improving the moral attitudes of our officials”.
"Why reinvent the wheel? Read any report of the Control and Accounting Chamber of our region. You will see inappropriately spent billions or inefficiently spent billions. Do you think this is far from the corruption component? This should just be done, systematically, and everything will be fine. What does Navalny represent? Why would everyone talk about him? I do not see anything that would distinguish it from among many other corruption fighters", he said.
At the same time, the Astrakhan communists gave a positive assessment of the anti-corruption revelations of Alexei Navalny.
“We can welcome what Navalny does in terms of anti-corruption investigations, what he does in the purity of the election process”, - Alexander Tokarev noted, the secretary of the ideology committee at the Astrakhan regional committee of the Communist Party.
"His films and videos that are spread through the Internet benefit the society as a whole and also help people understand who actually controls them. On the other hand, Navalny still remains a political "dark horse". There are many different speculations on the issue who stands behind him, what Kremlin tower this could be, or perhaps it is not the Kremlin at all; and what forces will come in the case of his triumph at the presidential election. All this remains unclear, therefore, in this regard, the Communists naturally do not support him, and neither do I. Thus Navalny’s public activities inspire respect, but his political activities so far raise more questions than answers", he explained to the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.
All opponents also said that they did not notice the agitation activity of the Navalny’s local offices, so they can not express their opinion on their work. Local media outlets also neglect Navalny’s regional offices.
Volunteering as the product of administrative resources
Some state-supported volunteer organizations in the south of Russia work under completely different conditions than the volunteers of Navalny's offices. In particular, their activities help them get state scholarships from governors of the regions, take part in international and Russia-wide events; also, volunteers participate in state competitions and get awards. In order to find out the scope of the volunteer movement in the South of Russia, the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent sent official inquiries to the press services of the regional administrations.
The Regional Agency for Youth Affairs provides regular information and organizational support to 17 youth organizations, which comprise over 1,5 thousand volunteers. The "Inter-Active" Volunteer Coordination Center actively cooperates with volunteers, operating on the basis of the Agency for Youth Affairs. The Center held 203 events in 2016 and 45 events for the first half of 2017. The work was carried out in the following volunteering areas: social, cultural, sporting, patriotic, environmental, eventual and donation, the response says, signed by Alexei Glukhov, the head of the press service and information department at the administration of the Astrakhan region governor.
"The urgent motive for each Astrakhan volunteer is to get a personal volunteer book from the Astrakhan region, a document that serves to record volunteer activity and contains information about the volunteer's work experience, his rewards and additional training", the press service's response explains.
According to the response, volunteers who prove themselves to be active members at public activities become governor scholarship holders of the Astrakhan region.
"We can conclude that whatever motivation leads a volunteer, in the foreground there is always a strong desire to do good", the response mentions.
In 2017, the register of youth and children's public associations that enjoy state support in the Volgograd region included 25 organizations. The number of active members of all youth associations, including volunteers, is more than 95 thousand people, according to the press service at the administration of the Volgograd region.
According to the department, in 2016, 49 events and campaigns took place with the participation of 1601 volunteers in the Volgograd region. In 2017, 38 events were attended by 1035 volunteers.
"For a young person, participating in a volunteer movement is an opportunity to gain new experience, to fulfill one’s potential and abilities. And also it is an opportunity to participate in the Russia-wide / world-class events, to develop communicative and leadership skills, to increase the level of knowledge of a foreign language", the response emphasizes.
37 youth organizations operate under support of the government of the Stavropol region. A number of student teams and student self-government volunteer detachments have been created in over than 500 educational institutions of the Stavropol region, the press service at the administration of the Stavropol Territory notes.
As reported by the department, according to the register of the regional Youth Projects Center, in the beginning of the year 540 volunteer detachments and associations with a total number of 29,914 people were registered in the region.
"All major youth events and campaigns are attended by volunteers. The number of such events is calculated in thousands, where dozens of thousands of volunteers are involved. In 2016, 4,944 volunteers from the Stavropol region landscaped 1850 memorial places and military graves. 19,450 volunteers from the Stavropol region took part in the regional volunteer campaign "Hurry to say: "Thank you!". In 2017, 13,950 volunteers from the Stavropol region took part in the rally, 400 military burial places were equipped. A total of 1,780 events were held, " as reported by the press service response.
The press service also stressed that the motivation of each of the volunteers is individual. "Starting from activities for the sake of a thank you letter or a certificate of honor, which can help in obtaining a gubernatorial or advanced scholarship in the future, and up to participation in Russia-wide events, such as escorting the Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square, or the Naval Parade in Sevastopol, and other Youth events. Last but not least is a "Personal book of the Volunteer of the Stavropol region", which records all volunteer activity", the response says.
According to the results of work for 2016, volunteers from the Stavropol region were represented in five of the seventeen nominations of the All-Russian competition "Volunteer Russia-2016" (the largest number of nominees among the regions of the country), as replied to the request of the "Caucasian Knot".
Undoubtedly, the efforts of self-organized volunteers from nongovernmental Navalny's offices are immeasurably less significant.
According to Navanly’s website, by July 26, he had 130,598 volunteers registered. According to the coordinators of the opposition's office in the South of Russia, they have more than 2,000,000 volunteers registered, but despite the large number of people coming to them, only about 250 people remain active. Navalny’s volunteers do not receive any state-funded rewards from their work and even pay fines for participating in uncoordinated protest campaigns. These volunteers call themselves "idealists".
What motivates the volunteer, when most of political stuff is rather sad and outdated
Most of the volunteers of the Navalny's offices, interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent, are young people, including high school students, university students, entrepreneurs, intellectuals, unemployed.
Despite administrative pressure and restrictions, according to the data voiced by the employee of Navalny’s Moscow office, Alexander Tagirov, the regional office of Navalny in southern Russia managed to register 90% of the number of potential signatories planned for the end of the year for almost 3 months of their work. According to him, 32 thousand and 643 people were registered out of the required 35 thousand people, the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent adds.
The volunteers are concerned about the social problems of the country and the region. Many volunteers are engaged in political self-education, actively participating in discussions and games organized by the members of the office.
The main problem discussed by Navalny’s followers is corruption among the political elite of the country and the education system, as well as inefficient work of local authorities. Besides, volunteers are concerned about the misallocation of the budget, problems with roads, medicine, and low salaries.
The fight against corruption, a state governed by the rule of law, social protection and justice are those goals in Navalny’s program which in many respects coincide with the goals announced by the United Russia, the Fair Russia, the Communists, and even the Liberal Democrats. But all these political forces have long been an integral part of that dull picture associated with the current authorities, rejected by some young people.
Many of the interviewed volunteers decided to support Alexei Navalny because he, in their opinion, is the only opposition politician in Russia who strives to become president. And he does this in order to radically change the country’s course of development, to transform the current political system once again, to endow it with democratic and humanistic features.
Many volunteers consider Alexei Navalny an uncompromising fighter against corruption. Volunteers of the opposition believe in his incorruptibility and adherence to principles. However, they do not exclude the possibility that their hopes may not be justified, and that Alexei Navalny can change his principles and may not keep his promises when coming to power. In this case, according to volunteers, it will be possible to re-elect him in the next elections, the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent informs.
Volunteers believe that Alexei Navalny will be able to establish the proper functioning of the electoral system in the first term of his work as president of the country. And this achievement will be unshakable and unbreakable. Some volunteers recognize themselves as idealists. According to them, there are many idealists among the volunteers who render assistance to Navalny's offices in the regions.
Despite the fines for participating in uncoordinated protest actions, the negative attitude of relatives and friends towards their activities, and the lack of benefits and privileges that the state-supported volunteerism gives, young people who participate in the activities of Navalny's offices do not intend to abandon their ideals. They hope that they will be able to "turn the tide" and solve not only the problems of their regions, but also the problems of Russia as a whole.
The "Caucasian Knot" correspondent got acquainted with the volunteers of the offices in five cities in southern Russia at the very beginning of their work. It is difficult to say whether their views will change in six months, on the day of the presidential elections in Russia, whether the pressure, proclaimed virtually by all the volunteers interviewed, has increased, or whether they will be disappointed in Navalny and his ideas or not.
Now the volunteers and Navalny’s offices continue their activities. Young people still attend anti-corruption rallies and pickets, organized both by Navalny’s Moscow office centrally, and spontaneously by people who emphasize that they have no relation to the politician.
So, despite the fact that only one office of Alexei Navalny was opened in the North Caucasian Federal District, namely in Stavropol, whose work was complicated by the opposition of those dissatisfied with its work from the very first days, the protest movement in the North Caucasus Federal District is gaining momentum in other regions, in particular, in Dagestan and Kabardino-Balkaria, where anti-corruption actions were organized.
In this case, according to the organizers, a campaign in Dagestan on March 26 ended up with the detention of 80 people. According to its participants, an anti-corruption rally in Makhachkala on June 12 was actually thwarted by the law enforcers. Six persons were detained during the trial, several journalists were attacked.
On the same day, June 12, according to the information in the group "We demand answers" in the social network "VKontakte", the rallies also had to be held in Kaspiysk and Cherkessk, however they did not take place, and their organizers called on people to come to Makhachkala and Stavropol.
In turn, participants in the anti-corruption rally in Nalchik on June 12 stressed that they had no relation to Navalny.
When we talk to volunteers and active members of Navalny's offices in the south of Russia it becomes clear that most of them are ready to defend their political leader not only in their own regions. Many supporters of the opposition from Astrakhan, Volgograd, Krasnodar, Rostov-on-Don and Stavropol, interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent, are ready to attend the Russia-wide campaigns of Navalny in Moscow and other Russian cities.