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Issue № 76. October 2019

Regional and Municipal Authorities Strategy and Tactics during Local Public Protests (The Case of the Voronezh Region, 2016–2018)

Roman V. Savenkov, Alexander I. Sotnikov

Roman V. Savenkov — PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Political Science, Voronezh State University, Voronezh, Russian Federation.
E-mail: rvsaven@gmail.com

Alexander I. Sotnikov — student, the course "Political Science", Voronezh State University, Voronezh, Russian Federation.
E-mail: 
alxrsotnikov@gmail.com

In 2016–2018 in Russia, the number of public protests increased, and sociologists have recorded increasing protest potential of Russians. The main addressee of local protest claims was the agency of federal and regional state power, but representatives of the municipal authorities directly interacted with the protesters. Differentiation of authorities by levels and industries increases the relevance of systematization of regional and local authorities’ strategy and tactics to prevent public protests and reactions to them. The empirical base of the study was the normative legal acts, the results of sociological research, materials of regional media on local protests in the Voronezh region 2016–2018, as well as the results of an expert survey conducted by the authors in 2019. As a result of the research, inconsistency in the actions of public authorities of different levels and industries in the correction of legal opportunities for protest actions was recorded. The authorities in the Voronezh region in the case of local public protests use the tactics of negotiations, are ready to make concessions, to seek a compromise in the case of large-scale (by the standards of the region) citizen mobilization and the absence of political demands. State authorities in the region were actively involved in resolving environmental protests, ignoring other local protest topics. The readiness of local branches of opposition parties to co-organize protest actions was recorded. The public challenging practices observed in the Voronezh Region cannot be called a protest in its pure form, since regional and federal authorities are placed in the position of the dominant arbitrator. The protest in the cases described was a “one demand” civic association, which made it a form of communication with the authorities, a public demonstration of a high level dissatisfaction of specific citizens. The tactics of the regional executive authority demonstrates their agreement with the role of “arbiter”, since such a civil activity does not pretend to change the existing institutions and practices of political behavior.

Keywords

Local protest, political protest, strategy and government tactics, public event, local government, political party.

DOI: 10.24411/2070-1381-2019-10009

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