In this Saturday, July 27, 2019, photo, provided by Alexei Abanin, Olga Misik, member of the small, grassroots group Bessrochka, sits in front of police officers during an unsanctioned rally in the center of Moscow. Despite the group’s small numbers, its use of new digital tools and efforts to self-organize mark a shift in civil consciousness previously unseen in Russia. (Alexei Abanin via AP)

Russian protesters aided by digital tools, self-organizing

September 06, 2019 - 5:34 am

MOSCOW (AP) — A grassroots protest group has emerged from this summer's anti-government demonstrations in Moscow.

Known as "Bessrochka," or "Protest Without End," the activists use digital tools, education and self-organization. Although its membership is still small, it is growing and Bessrochka's existence marks a shift in civil consciousness in Russia.

The leaderless, nonviolent group first emerged a year ago after a handful of activists refused to leave Pushkin Square following protests of an unpopular pension reform plan proposed under President Vladimir Putin.

It has grown into a part-digital, part-direct action initiative with 50 to 100 active members, and several thousand subscribers on social media. Every week, activists organize pickets and low-key demonstrations and the group's core belief is that constant, peaceful street action is the only way to initiate change in Russia.

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