What was that?

Last Tuesday, no more than two dozen doctors, teachers and “social activists” managed to block one of the largest streets in Moscow, Tverskaya (once considered the city’s main) for five-ten minutes. Police did not interfere.

The people were protesting against the eviction of six families from subsidized housing in the south of Moscow. Since early December, these families – who have not been physically evicted yet but are living under threat of eviction – have also been camping out next to a United Russia office in Moscow.

“Subsidized” or “social” housing sounds close to “council estate” or “housing project” but those families are not unemployable misfits. They – at least some of them – are what is called byudzhetniki in Russian, that is professionals paid by the state, such as school teachers and doctors: most (not all) Russian schools and clinics are state-controlled and financed.

Echo Moskvy claims that most of yesterday’s protesters were not family members but activists, probably left-wing. They also attempted to break into the Moscow City department of city property. Over there as on Tverskaya, police made no arrests.

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