It looks like Hillary has been provoking the Russians again. They’ve taken to the streets in protests of the recent fraudulent elections that put Vladimir Putin’s United Russia ahead going into the general election in March.
MOSCOW — Tens of thousands of protesters gathered here on Saturday afternoon for a second large antigovernment demonstration, as a wave of new activists struggle to convert an inchoate burst of energy into a durable political force.Demonstrators massed in Moscow on Saturday, sustaining their protests of Russia’s legislative election results.
Organizers hope to build on the success of the Dec. 10 protests, which mobilized a broad collection of previously apolitical middle-class Russians angry over parliamentary elections earlier this month that many rejected as fraudulent and slanted in favor of the ruling party, United Russia. If the movement can sustain its intensity, it could alter the course of presidential elections in March, when Vladimir V. Putin plans to extend his status as the country’s dominant figure to 18 years.
The crowd began forming more than an hour before the beginning of the protest, for which city authorities granted a permit for up to 50,000 people. Organizers estimated the crowd at 120,000; the police offered a lower estimate of about 29,000.
The NYTimes is supportive of these protestors, who are portrayed as generally apolitical middle class Russians, compared to the dirty hippy types in Zuccotti park and they’re union sympathizers. (Oh, they’re only *union* people. Well, let’s just undercount them then.)
But here’s a curious thing, some of these protestors previously engaged in electoral fraud. Imagine if the Obot contingent had grown consciences over the disaster they helped create when they f%^&ed with the caucus system in Iowa, Texas, Nevada and other states.
Pavel Morozov, 23, said he had come as an act of penitence: two years ago, he had stuffed a ballot box to bolster the results of United Russia, while working at a polling station. Mr. Morozov said that he realized his quality of life would suffer if Mr. Putin was dislodged, but that he was prepared for that.
“I can say for sure life will be worse for those of us who are now well off, but we need some kind of change, because what we have now is stagnation,” he said. “Anyone now but Putin. It will at least be different and for the youth, this is better than stagnation.”
This is what we need. We need the remaining Obot Democratic party loyalist lackies, like Thereisnospoon, to tell the party to go Cheney itself and walk away. By the way, did you notice that Romney and Ron Paul are the only Republican candidates who actually have the organization to get their names on the primary ballots? Organization counts. If Gingrich and Perry are hoping for a miracle in Iowa that would force them onto the ballots in other states by public demand, well, I wouldn’t be too sure about that. Once the ball starts rolling on the R side of the ballot, frontrunner status solidifies itself pretty quickly so they can concentrate on the general election. The Republican voters will fall into line behind their nominee by January, while the Democrats will still be pretty pissed off about theirs. Just sayin…
The holiday atmosphere of the first gathering has hardened into something more urgent in the two-week lull. The crime novelist Boris Akunin, who returned to Moscow this month from his home in France to participate in the demonstrations, told the crowd to gird itself for a long haul.
“We will have a difficult year,” Mr. Akunin said. “But it will be an interesting year. It will be our year.”
When I was in my 20s, a demonstration like this in Russia was unheard of. Russians lead lives of gray dreariness and oppression under the Soviet system where the KGB followed dissidents and sent them to Gulags and Siberia for stepping out of line. Now, it’s the United States that is slipping into gray dreariness for the vast majority of people whose cell phones are bugged and can be indefinitely detained for stepping out of line. Here in the US, it is now the average middle class voter such as myself who is villified by the press for being occupiers who inconvenience others. Here in the US, public *camping* is a major crime necessitating the use of riot police, pepperspray, sound cannons and pain. Funny how we aren’t having this reaction to the anti-choice demonstrators who aren’t even nice about the way they viciously inconvenience and harrass young women who have enough to worry about. We haven’t broken up and evicted their permanent encampments even when they have been known to fire bomb clinics and shoot doctors. That’s ok as long as they didn’t bring a water proof shelter with them.
Well, let’s see if the protests in Russia have any effect on the way that Occupy Congress is covered on January 17. I’ve made my reservation on the Trenton, NJ bus and am planning to meet up with Marsha and Katiebird (if we can nudge her out of Kansas. See our donate button if you want to help dislodge her. $10.17 is the recommended donation.). Are you planning to go?
“We will have a difficult year, but it will be an interesting year. It will be our year.”
This is personal: I look at those images of protestors holding up flags and getting dragged to the ground by police and my blood boils.
I’m sure we all have vague fuzzy memories from when our consciences started to flicker to life. I have some that stand out in my mind: my mother walking into a room and leaving in disgust, Christmas lights, the long icicles hanging from the strata of shale and earth as I looked out the window of a car, of holding onto my dad’s two fingers as I toddled beside him in the snow, the image of accidentally pushing some little girl down a flight of stairs, my mother’s baptism into the Jehovah’s Witnesses in a natatorium in Cleveland, Ohio, giving my days old sister a piece of candy. But they’re flashes, catching a signal from an old antenna between the static.
My absolute clearest memory, the one that stands out for me as the moment the signal to my conscience came online and began its linear narrative that leads me to this day is of a clear winter day in Norfolk, Virginia where my dad was stationed during the Kennedy presidency. We were on the front lines of the cold war, Norfolk is *the* east coast port of the United States Navy. We were going to be vaporized first. Somehow, I think I knew that.
There was a large field between the rows of houses. There was a playground in that field surrounded by clotheslines. There was a sandbox in that playground. I was wearing a round wool hat that had ear flaps and tied underneath my chin, long pants, and a bulky jacket combination with too many layers beneath it but no gloves. I can see the shadows of the monkey bars cast on the ground by a cold sun and I am staring at Bobby Harris, my best friend who just told me to shut up. I raised my fist in the air and shouted,
“This is a free country. I can say anything I want. You can’t make me shut up.”
True story. The first words I ever remember hearing myself say were a protest.