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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Social forum lands in Moscow

In the spirit of "another world is possible", and the examples of Porto Alegre in Brazil and across the world, the World Social Forum recently launched in Russia for the first time. The aim?

Boris Kagarlitsky writes:

"...A new opposition is taking shape in Russia. It is not being formed around the Duma parties, but on the basis of the developing social movements. The participants in the protest actions are trying to acquire a voice and to formulate their own demands to be placed on the authorities. As in many other countries, a social forum is now providing a meeting place for the protesters."

"Unlike earlier international organisations of the left, the "new international" that is coming into being on the basis of the ideas proclaimed by the social forums - in Porto Alegre, Mumbai, Florence, Paris and London - is exceptionally democratic. In terms of ideas, the initiative has come from below. For Russian political culture - in which, even on the left, an unbelievable gap has remained between passive followers and leaders bursting with self-satisfaction - the forum was simply miraculous; it featured neither honorary presidiums nor long, ceremonious speeches."

Reporters Without Borders places Putin's Russia in its "Predators of Press Freedom" category, alongside Colombia, Bangladesh, Iran, Libya, Syria and Zimbabwe.


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