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‘One of the most impressive phenomena in modern Russia’: Communist leader Zyuganov asks Kremlin to listen to Khabarovsk protesters

‘One of the most impressive phenomena in modern Russia’: Communist leader Zyuganov asks Kremlin to listen to Khabarovsk protesters
The leader of Russia's Communist Party has called for the government to “hear the voice of the people” in Khabarovsk, where citizens have been protesting daily for more than three months over the arrest of their former governor.

Writing on Twitter, four-time presidential candidate Gennady Zyuganov called the demonstrations “one of the most impressive phenomena in modern Russia,” and asked the Kremlin to listen to the concerns of the aggrieved and “take the path of development and progress.”

The picture used by Zyuganov quotes a stat from a recent poll by the registered 'foreign agent' pollster Levada Center, which discovered that 45 percent of Russians support those marching on the streets.

Protests in Khabarovsk, a city in Russia’s Far East, began on July 11, two days after the arrest of popular regional governor Sergei Furgal. Furgal was detained on suspicion of ordering two successful murders, and a third failed attempt, in the mid-2000s. He was immediately taken to Moscow, where he is currently in jail. In Khabarovsk, many locals are furious that their elected leader was removed by federal authorities and flown over 6,000km to the far-away capital.

Since his detention, scores of Khabarovsk locals have taken to the city's streets, protesting for over 100 days in a row. In the first few weeks, Sunday demonstrations saw tens of thousands of protesters, who marched in solidarity with their beloved former leader. Now, three months after Furgal was arrested, the number of attendees at the city's protests barely reaches four figures.

Also on rt.com 'Dadin Law' invoked as two Khabarovsk protesters face jail after multiple fines for involvement in unauthorized protest marches

Furgal is a member of the far-right LDPR party and became the governor of the Khabarovsk Region in 2018, defeating competition from the ruling United Russia party. His popularity continued throughout his governorship, and last year he led his Liberal Democratic party to a landslide victory in regional parliament elections.

Despite the seeming vast ideological gap between a nationalist party and the communists, the protests have regularly featured demonstrators flying the flag of the former USSR alongside the local regional flag.

As long-term leader of the Communist Party, Zyuganov is a controversial figure. In the Soviet Union, he was a leading critic of leader Mikhail Gorbachev's policies of perestroika and glasnost, and nowadays is known for focusing on issues such as increases to pensions and the re-nationalization of companies privatized in the 1990s. In recent months, he has taken to criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin, calling summer's passed constitutional amendments “disappointing” and “depressing.” He also accused Putin of failing to “get rid of the oligarchy.”

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