Moscow: The echoes of new voices raised by fast emerging middle class in Russia have caught the world attention. Unlike other nations witnessing uprisings, this outburst is not the consequence of any prevailing hunger or poverty but is the voice of new aspirations of the self-reliant and modern Russian society.

The Russian middle class has been haunting Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for a while as the young English speaking, candid, aware and active blood is not just content with economic stability but is craving for a transparent and accessible democracy, on the lines of the West.

On the contrary, the regime headed by Putin is a democracy represented by a handful of powerful personalities. The middle class is thronging on roads to demand for a change of power which is also being termed as the second December revolution on the lines of the 1999 upheaval which changed the destiny of the Russian people.

Jailed popular opposition leader Alesko Nevleni had sent a message for the demonstration held on December 10, “there is no sense in leading a life like mice, frogs and animals in stability and economic development. We have the voice and the votes and the strength to utilize them.”

Russia has been a land of revolutions. Major changes have been the result of the rage of the Russian society, observed twice in the 20th century.

The revolution in February, 1917 was the aftermath of the protests of the common masses which evolved into Bolshevik revolution in October, whereas the second rebellion by the people banished the existence of the Soviet Union from the world map for ever.

The Russian middle class is a new class which emerged with the rise in oil prices between 2000 and 2008 and prospered into rich, self-reliant and aware masses. The rising of this middle class and the limited capitalist democracy of Putin is the biggest change witnessed in Russia in the last decade.
Earlier Russians were divided into either oil or mineral traders (oligarchy) or average labourers, but the new middle class earns about 800 dollars per month on an average and is capable to apply for a loan to own a house. The change is huge for the Russians who have lived in public housing and have been dependant on public facilities.

According to a report published by the Centre for Strategic Research in Russia, the Russian population comprises 20 percent middle class and if the economy grows at 4 percent per annum in coming years, it is expected to reach 40 percent by 2012.

The present internet crazy and techno-geek young generation is aware of the happenings of the world and holds an independent view on global movements. This generation voted for the first time in recent elections but with the polls being revealed as a fraud, they demanded the recounting of the votes.

The political observers in Russia believe that the present generation will change the course of Russian politics and a new destiny will be penned for the nation.

As a latest development, former Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has advised to form a new Liberal Party to give a way to urban middle class in politics which can no longer be overlooked in the present scenario.

Anshuman Tiwari/JPN