每日英語跟讀 Ep.K087: Looking for Something New in Russia’s ‘New People’ Party
President Vladimir Putin has made it clear that he doesn’t tolerate dissent, but one new opposition party has flourished.
And that party, curiously, has been speaking out on the same themes of fighting corruption and repression that have made opposition leader Alexei Navalny enemy No. 1 of the Kremlin.
The new party thrives even as Navalny’s own party has been banned. The reasons, Russian analysts say, are to undermine Navalny, distract from his movement and divide the liberal opposition — all while providing a veneer of multiparty politics in a country where there is little meaningful electoral choice.
The new party, called New People, seems designed to appeal to Navalny’s followers.
“For two decades, we lived in a situation of a false choice: either freedom or order,” its platform proclaims. The government, it says, “should stop seeing enemies and traitors in those who have other points of view."
The Kremlin has worked on many fronts to destroy Navalny’s movement — arresting his supporters at protests and, according to Navalny and Western governments, trying to assassinate him last year. Government officials have smeared him as a stooge of Western intelligence agencies.
But Navalny has also faced a steady stream of competing anti-corruption reformers who seem to operate with the government’s blessing — most recently New People, which has been revving up its campaign for parliamentary elections in September, when Navalny will be in a penal colony.
The founder of a cosmetics company, Alexei Nechayev, established the party last year to channel what he described as opposition sentiment in society, much as Navalny has been doing. But Nechayev refrains from direct criticism of Putin and is not calling for his ouster.
Navalny and his allies greeted the arrival of New People with disdain, identifying Nechayev as the latest in a long line of political doubles conjured up by the Kremlin to try to unseat Navalny from his leadership of discontented young professionals.
Russia’s political system is sometimes called “managed democracy,” for the practice of Kremlin political advisers creating, mentoring or funding supposed opposition figures and parties — and tolerating some others as long as they don’t criticize Putin directly.
Nechayev denied he consulted with the Kremlin before forming the party, Still, political analysts have dismissed the idea that the party emerged without the Kremlin’s blessing.
Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/5316400