What Was It? (Preliminary Reflection on Khabarovsk Rallies)

L.E. Bliakher, A.V. Kovalevsky
2020 Полития  
The Khabarovsk protest has been going on for months: first, it suddenly made headlines of the world media and then it was pushed to the periphery of the information space. The predictions about the protest fading away stubbornly refuse to come true. Maybe not tens of thousands as it was earlier, but thousands of city residents still take to the streets. Moreover, tension, uncertainty, and discontent persist in the air. Dozens of articles and many reports have been written about Khabarovsk, and
more » ... ut Khabarovsk, and even a full-length docu mentary has been released. Nevertheless, the question remains: why did the population of the city, who for decades preferred to distance themselves from any government's initiatives, all of a sudden switched to a strategy of protest? What part of this situation is unique to Khabarovsk, and where do we observe more general patterns? This article is devoted to finding answers to these questions. Having examined the main facets of the events unfolding in Khabarovsk, L.Bliakher and A.Kovalevsky come to the conclusion that these events are about the most important political phenomenon — formation of the political agency of the population that for many years has been reduced to the position of an object. In the case of Khabarovsk, residents started to perceive themselves as a political agent after the 2018 protest voting. In this situation, people began to view the ex-governor of the Khabarovsk region not so much as a good — or not very good — leader, but rather as a symbol of acquiring political agency, which became a key element of regional identification, formation of the local community. That is why his arrest was perceived by the residents of the region as a personal insult. And it is their identity that they defend on the streets of Khabarovsk.
doi:10.30570/2078-5089-2020-99-4-108-136 fatcat:kkpi7h4wo5a6xg6og6kdde52bi