Gabowitsch wanted to prove that the notion that the media painted of the 2011 protests was wrong. He first attempts to dispel the notion that the protesters were all liberal and of a certain background. He brilliantly dispels this notion through a unique mixture of interviews with the protestors, blog posts, and print media. He portrays the protests from responses from the protesters themselves and his assessment. He writes in the book that there were thousands of Russians, many with different grievances, backgrounds, and beliefs who came out all across the country to protest.
Gabowitsch argues that these demonstrations were a sign of the growing discontent that people were having. This rise was because of policies that negatively impacted the people, and the corruption of the government.
Gabowitsch through interviews with the protestors reveals an increased feeling of being excluded in the political sphere. The protesters he argues had many differences such as their grievances towards the government but had one commonality.
This, commonality argued Gabowitsch, was that principles drove the protesters such as justice. They did not care about class or ideology despite the beliefs of western media. This assertion by the author is further supported through interviews conducted throughout the book. These interviews that Gabowitsch conducted with the protestors led him to discover the essence of the protests. Some argue that the essence of the protests is the personal growth that the protestors experience and not an attempt at any real political change.
Protest in Putin’s Russia provides dual benefits for novices and master’s degree earners alike.
It can be beneficial for graduate school students as an analysis of social movements, and for undergraduates who read it for a book report in his Russian Politics class. Only being 9 chapters makes it a very easy book to pick up and read. The first chapter opens with the organization of the key moments of the insurrections on the timeline of the Russian Federation. In Chapter 2, we as the reader observe the eventual recognition of the election rigging by the electorate. It is the 3rd, 4th, and 5th chapters that have the meat and potatoes in Protest in Putin’s Russia. This is because in it Gabowitsch analyzes the leading demonstrators, along with the inception of several homegrown protests across the nation and the difficulty they had trying to unify them towards a common goal.
In chapter 6 Gabowitsch observes the Pussy Riot and the effect they had on Russia, but regarding social movements. It is in Chapter 7 that Gabowitsch outlines the revitalizing effect on the public spaces that the protests occurred. This is because of the creation of memories and emotional connections many got. Finally, in Chapter 8, Gabowitsch writes from both the perspective of western activism and from the Russian movement about the role that multinational activism has on modern-day activism.