They can see his stunts are hurting the wider liberal cause
As we reported on Monday, when Russia's chief pro-western political figure Alexey Navalny realized his scheduled protest rally was going to attract too few people to be noticed he decided to party crash the festival on Tverskaya street instead.
That earned him an arrest which made up for a good story in the western press but did nothing to endear him to the 150,000 ordinary Russians who had planned to attend a non-political festival.
Moreover, as Radio Free Liberty reports it also earned Navalny the ire of fellow liberal oppositionists, who (quite correctly) accused Navalny of hurting the wider liberal cause for personal self-promotion.
Here are the best bits:
Russia’s liberal opposition has long been plagued by infighting. And fresh fissures have emerged over chief Kremlin foe Aleksei Navalny's decision to move an anticorruption protest in Moscow to the city center, where hundreds were detained by police on June 12.
Kremlin critics have accused the opposition leader of deflating the momentum of antigovernment forces by altering the site of this week's protest less than 24 hours before the event.
“I will say just a few words: Navalny has weakened the protest movement,” veteran human rights activist Lev Ponomaryov, a harsh critic of President Vladimir Putin, told the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper at the authorized rally on June 12.
Andrei Zubov, a prominent historian once fired as a professor at an elite Moscow university for his criticism of Russian expansionism in Ukraine, echoed that sentiment on June 13, saying both the originally planned rally and the protest on Moscow’s central Tverskaya Street "failed."
Compared to substantial protests in other Russian cities, "Muscovites turned out to be disconnected, disoriented, and demoralized," Zubov wrote on Facebook. "And city authorities are not responsible for this, alas, but rather the organizers of the rally."
Several Kremlin opponents, however, accused Navalny of goading his followers into a guaranteed confrontation with police.
"Navalny drummed up some more PR for himself, and those who hit the streets for him will earn some jail time at best," Roman Roslovtsev, an activist who has been repeatedly jailed for one-man protests in which he wears a Putin mask, wrote on Facebook. .