Occupy (Well, Not Exactly) Russia

(Jeff Danziger’s website)
From the Guardian, “Russians come out in force to protest against alleged electoral fraud“:

Up to 50,000 people braved the cold and snow on Saturday to turn out for the largest ever protest against the rule of prime minister Vladimir Putin.
Bolotnaya Square, across the river from the Kremlin in central Moscow, was filled to overflowing with thousands standing shoulder-to-shoulder on the bridges and along the riverfront leading to the site. Tens of thousands of police and interior troops were deployed around the area, but protesters had been allowed by officials to gather in an unprecedented show of discontent…
“I demand new elections,” said Maxim, 26, an economist. “If they don’t agree, we will continue to come out. The people have woken up – they see there’s a point to going out into the streets and expressing what they don’t agree with.”
Opposition leader Vladimir Ryzhkov said a further protest would be held on Christmas eve if the Kremlin refused to cancel the election results. The overwhelmingly young crowd organised via social networking sites and exceeded early estimates of 30,000…
Protests took place in more than 50 cities, with a reported 7,000 people gathering in St Petersburg and up to 4,000 in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, despite the temperature of -20C.
“They have to hear us,” said Artyom Loskutov, an artist from Novosibirsk who attended the Moscow protest. “The police simply don’t understand [that people are coming out on their own] – they ask, who are the organisers? They think it has to be the west, it has to be [US Senator John] McCain.”
Putin has accused the US secretary of state Hillary Clinton of prompting the unrest and has cracked down on Russian NGOs that work with foreign funding. He made no comment on Saturday, but the country’s leadership has called the disputed vote a success and given no indication they plan to re-examine its results…

31 replies
  1. 1
    Cain says:

    This is good news for John McCain!

  2. 2
    salacious crumb says:

    Every country..Russia, Iran, Syria, Libya ..that isnt pro-war for war with Iran seems to be having an “Arab Spring” moment. And the US seems to enthusiastically support “democracy” in such cases until a more pro-Israel govt is installed. Bahrain is ready for war with Iran and their Arab spring got no support ..only bullets.

  3. 3
    Thor Heyerdahl says:

    Decembrists and January Bloody Sunday…there’s a protest history in Russia at this time of year…

  4. 4
    Joshua Norton says:

    Russians have been stuck in the serf mentality since the Revolution. They may have called it “Comminism” under Stalin, but he was really the last Czar. Putin is trying to be the next one. Young Russians don’t really see any reason to let him get away with it.

  5. 5
    amk says:

    @salacious crumb: You’re right. Hillary made them do it. What dumbfucks, amirit?

  6. 6
    kdaug says:

    This is why we keep our goddamned mouths shut about what’s going down worldwide. HC’s comment was ill-timed and predictably over-played in the foreign press.

    Proper response – every fucking time – is that it’s up to X countries’ people to determine the course of their nations.

    Don’t matter what happens behind the scenes. Do the diplo-dance, turn the screws, whatever. But publicly, we are always on the side of the people.

  7. 7
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @amk: It was all the Stonecutters. If they can make Steve Guttenberg a star, they can do anything.

  8. 8
    Mike G says:

    They ask, who are the organisers? They think it has to be the west, it has to be [US Senator John] McCain.”

    I know McCain made some stupid-ass comments during the Russia-Georgia border war a couple of years ago, but WTF? Is he that much of a bogeyman in Russia that street cops blame him for demonstrations?

  9. 9
    kdaug says:

    @Mike G: Ding-fucking-ding.

    We seriously need to keep our fingerprints off of all this shit. McCain’s fucking “We’re all Georgians now” BS set us back years.

    And don’t get me started on the cro-magnons’ chest-thumping re: “Uz-becki-becki-becki-stan-stan”. Cain may be gone, but the stupid ain’t.

  10. 10
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @kdaug: The stupid exists in all countries. Ours just gets more attention.

  11. 11

    In the interest of accuracy, here’s what Secretary Clinton actually said:

    “I think that it’s not so much what I think or even what the OSCE thinks, as what Russian voters think. Russian voters deserve a full investigation of all credible reports of electoral fraud and manipulation, and we hope in particular that the Russian authorities will take action on the recommendations that come forward from observer missions like the OSCE in its final report and their own electoral observers, who are making recommendations about how to improve the process.

    “The Russian people, like people everywhere, deserve the right to have their voices heard and their votes counted. And that means they deserve free, fair, transparent elections and leaders who are accountable to them. And we believe that that’s in the best interests of Russia and we’re going to continue to speak out about it.”

    I don’t find that all that objectionable. If I’m the Tsar of All the Russias and the wannabe-Tsar of all my former satellites as Putin is I might think otherwise, but that’s his problem.

  12. 12
    kdaug says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Welcome to “superpower”.

  13. 13
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @kdaug: I know that. It is just that I have met plenty of Germans, Brits, Frenchmen, Romanians, etc., who are just as prejudiced and ignorant as some guy from Rhinelander, Wisconsin. I just need to put that out into the ionosphere sometimes.

  14. 14
    No one of importance says:

    @Thor Heyerdahl:

    “there’s a protest history in Russia at this time of year…”

    Not actually a coincidence that this protest is happening now, according to my Russian friend. The anniversary of the January revolution is concentrating people’s minds on the many abuses of power under Putin.

  15. 15
    amk says:

    This is the politico’s opening graf on post-debate ‘assessment’. Spot’em if you can.

    For nearly two hours, six Republican candidates (minus Jon Huntsman) duked it out on a stage at Drake University im Iowa, drawing blood, getting under one another’s skin, and — for a few monents — getting warm and fuzzy about which rival they’ve learned the most from.

    Their grammar is as horrid as their shilling for rw.

  16. 16
    eemom says:

    @No one of importance:

    you have a “friend”? There’s a shocker.

  17. 17
    AxelFoley says:

    Damn, you know shit just got real when the Russians are protesting their government.

    First, the Arab Spring, and now the Russian Winter.

  18. 18

    I feel that the protesters in Russia are risking a whole lot. Good luck to them. Hope they try to stay safe.

  19. 19
    mai naem says:

    Put-in needs to be put-in his place. Wonder if you can say that in Russian.

  20. 20
    Chris says:

    @salacious crumb:

    Bahrain is ready for war with Iran and their Arab spring got no support ..only bullets.

    Wasn’t “war with Iran” so much as “we can’t have a country making ripples right in the middle of Oilstan,” IMO.

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I know that. It is just that I have met plenty of Germans, Brits, Frenchmen, Romanians, etc., who are just as prejudiced and ignorant as some guy from Rhinelander, Wisconsin. I just need to put that out into the ionosphere sometimes.

    I hear you.

  21. 21
    Gin & Tonic says:

    I read this last night, and I’m glad The Guard is writing about it (or at least someone is) because this is huge. Getting 50k people in the street in Moscow in December is big, but getting 4k people in the street in Novosibirsk when it’s freezing cold is enormous. Let’s hope they can keep it up.

  22. 22
    ice weasel says:

    Very sadly, I suspect this won’t end well. Putin seems like the classic strongman who would rather fight than bail.

  23. 23
    BobS says:

    United Russia’s share of the vote was actually less than predicted in pre-election polling by the US financed ‘independent’ Yuri Levada Analytical Center. Odd way to steal an election.
    Presumably Clinton’s remarks were for domestic consumption in the United States of Amnesia. The 2000 election is not considered ancient history in the rest of the world. State Department staffers are no doubt working overtime selecting a color for Russia’s revolution, preferably one that won’t clash was those our decorators (the National Endowment for Democracy, the US Agency for International Development, etc) used in Georgia, the Ukraine, and presently in Kyrgyzstan.

  24. 24
    Schlemizel says:

    Saw an interesting contrast photo set yesterday on a non-political site (if I can remember which one I’ll do the linky thing). The top photo was a paddy wagon full of smiling & laughing Russian kids arrested during the protests, the bottom was a group of occupy people, hog-tied with zip-cuffs face down being tended by heavily armed cops.

    It made a pretty strong statement.

  25. 25
    BobS says:

    I meant to write most recently in Kyrgyzstan.

  26. 26
    imbrium says:

    @mai naem:

    Not sure the wordplay would translate. The protest signs have been interesting though. The top pic in the linked article made me crack up (it says Putin, as could probably be guessed. The rest is written in internet and needs no translation for denizens thereof.)


    My favorite sign/banner I saw in a protest photo read- ‘vybory bez vybora -nye vybory’ (roughly, elections without choice are not elections.) Poetic, true, and, like just about everything else, awesome looking in cyrillic script. Выборы без выбора – не выборы

  27. 27
    imbrium says:

    Okay, link above actually goes to the parent article… this should be picture I meant to reference. And….The direct link to the pic is broken. I blame bbc russia and give up.

  28. 28
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @imbrium: That link did not work either.

  29. 29
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    How long before the Republicans will decry our inaction when Putin starts pepper-spraying THESE crowds?

  30. 30
    Mino says:

    @Schlemizel: I saw that, too. Maybe Wisconsin cops need to talk with the various police forces about whom they’re gonna need to save their jobs and pensions. Idiots.

    And with Taibbi’s article on NDAA, well.

    If libertarians run third party with Ron Paul, we could have a problem. On his college circuit, Ron Paul is attracting even more young people who already hate the Patriot Act and and the wars. If he runs third party…

  31. 31
    No one of importance says:


    For someone whose main hobby is finger painting with their own poo, that probably counts as a zinger. But it’s as weak as your intellect, and not worth getting even slightly annoyed at.

    If Cleek’s Pie Filter wasn’t broken I wouldn’t even have to see you existed. I wish he’d fix it. So many trolls, so little eyeball time.

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