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|5 aug 2020|
The Silence of the Kremlin Lambs and Radicalization of the Protest
Majsyryan Alexander 07.02.2012
Certainly, the most interesting in similar meetings happens in crowd - among people, not on the tribunes. The main thing, perhaps, which became evident in protest crowd of the Moscow meeting on February, 4th - obvious radicalization of slogans.
If on the first "Bolotny" meeting lion's share of posters were dedicated to a "wizard" Churov ("Wizard, where’s my voice?", "Churov, Go to Azkaban!" and etc.) and such slogans "Putin, leave!" were occasional (though, however, the crowd scanned similar slogans), now the picture was different. Surname or bearded face of Churov could be noticed on few posters, almost all attention of the protesting was focused on Putin.
Such slogans as "Putin, farewell!" or Putin's image with a hat from a rubber product (protecting from freedom-loving ideas) on, or a chain of balloons departing to the sky - all reminded of it. Leaving from meeting I even heard the words of some young man which said loudly:
- They changed protest theme! The first meetings were - for fair elections, now they transformed them into meetings against Putin! While the first slogan is much deeper and more considerable!
In will risk to doubt in last statement - in 1989-1990 meetings of democrats-followers of Yeltsin also went under slogans of "fair elections". I want to ask and where they are?
WHAT social force comes to power, not HOW it’s done has crucial importance in every revolution. As to "substitution of theme of the protest" - that is the logic of every revolution. Practically always revolution starts under one slogans and ends under absolutely different ones. Often opposite ones. If slogans are changed, displaced to more radical part (and "Russia without Putin!", according to me, is more radical than “Churov, Go to Azkaban”) – it means that revolution lives and breathes, moves forward on the sly. As Che Guevara said, revolution is similar to a bicycle - if it doesn't move, it falls.
The very word "revolution" will be rehabilitated little by little. On the first "Bolotny" meeting, as well as on Sakharov Avenue, orators assured gathered that all of them - against revolution and are anxious only by its prevention. Now such mantra wasn’t heard, the left column of procession scanned many times "Re-vo-lution!" On one of quite liberal posters the author of the lines read such reasoning: "Interdiction of peace and nonviolent revolution does bloody and violent revolution inevitable!"
Even more important change - formation of separate columns in the crowd - including red, nationalist and liberal ones. Rudiments of such division were observed already on last meeting, on December, 24th when Russian nationalists stood basically on the right side of the avenue, liberals - in the center and the left – on the left (if to look towards a tribune). Now it is fixed in the form of division of the procession into some columns. Well, such delimitation can be only welcomed. "It is necessary to be demarcated before getting uniform".
Democratic opposition of 1989-1991 hasn’t ripened to such delimitation, then red, black anarchist and various pre-revolutionary banners were seen together in one crowd. It’s well known what the end was... All "red", social part of the protest (it already existed already then and it was quite considerable – let’s recollect the national attitude to "nomenclature privileges") appeared merged in nowhere. So that fact that "the national parliament" or national veche gathering for already third time during last two months got demarcated and gained independence is a considerable achievement.
The red column in which the author of these lines found itself (as they say, it appeared to be the most numerous) scanned the most radical slogans sending "to get lost" not only Putin (Churov wasn’t even mentioned), but also Medvedev, the State Duma as a whole, oligarchs and etc. (By the way, Medvedev didn’t appear at all as a target of slogans of the meeting. It seems, considerable part of the protesters would be rather happy, if Dmitry Anatolevich would use his power to send Putin to resignation. But let’s see, if such attitude of the crowd to Medvedev won’t change in more radical part on following actions).
Probably, damnation of orators on last meeting did them good. That is it’s desirable to believe that people’s reaction in some degree corrected the total list of orators. Some from last most odious orators such as Kudrin, Kasyanov and Ksjusha Sobchak this time, thanks God, were not present on the tribune. Probably, Nemtsov who also heard plenty of whistles and jeers addressed to him on meeting on December, 24th understood that it’s better to him to keep silent now. So, on meeting on February, 4th whistle was heard just once from the left column when the floor was given to the nationalist Belov-Potkin.
There was, at least, one more not palatable episode when organizer of the meeting started to thank obsequiously police that it protected procession and thanked authorities of the capital that they coordinated action of the opposition. As though it’s necessary to thank someone for observance of lawful and inalienable laws of the Russian citizens! Organizer urged the crowd to tell "thanks" - but crowd, to its honor, basically kept silent.
It would be even better, of course, if people answered orator with whistle - probably, it would shorten a bit the tongue of the subsequent toadies who are ready to kiss asses of the mighty of this world.
But let’s pass to the tribune - here not the list of orators but the list of those who didn’t acted appeared to be more interesting. None of the officially registered presidential candidates dare to occupy the tribune - probably under instructions from the Kremlin. Yavlinsky – already “cut off” by the CEC was the only one who made public speech. Certainly, this silence of the Kremlin lambs can be treated with joy - for this fact even involuntarily shifts street opposition in more radical part.
In front of my eyes two women of middle age from liberal column blamed Prokhorov's supported with a long scarf with the name of his idol written on it:
- Well, where’s your Prokhorov? We are going to vote for him, but he hasn’t come!..
- If he hasn’t come, that’s the way it should be! – admirer if the billionaire answered them.
Alexey Navalny also didn’t make public speech, he took “a break”. He declared to "New Newspaper": "Meeting should be carried out as fast as possible... Not to chat up the action. Personally I am ready to relieve participants of the protest action of my performance".
Though it was possible to see on the meeting bills and posters with a portrait of the blogger and appeals: "Navalny in presidents!" Even such poster: "2012 - president Zyuganov. 2014 - president Navalny!"
Refusal to participate – is, possibly, rather prudent act from his side. Navalny was already compared with Kerensky – there’s really something in common between them. Kerensky was neither large organizer of socialist revolutionary party (as, for example, Savinkov), nor its visible ideologist (as Chernov). But he was very convenient bridge, "an average arithmetic" between old imperial elite and, as then they say, "democracy", that is revolutionaries. Kerensky was very well acquainted with both and, using his position of "bridge" between them, he began to tower from nothing and to grow into huge, titanic figure. (Though then that grown from nowhere colossus on clay feet was crashed in a moment).
From memoirs of monarchist Vasily Shulgin about February, 1917: "His figure [of Kerensky] has suddenly grown in "importance”... He spoke resolutely, imperiously, as though without perplexity... Words and gestures were sharp, rapped out, eyes burnt... – I’m going to visit regiments... It seemed that it was told by "the one in power"... – He is their dictator... - someone whispered next to me... He grew... [...] He got bigger each minute..."
Something similar we see now - Navalny appeared convenient "bridge", average arithmetic between the Russian nationalists, domestic liberals and the western elite. The western establishment in their magazines already titles him one of "global thinkers" leaving behind, in particular, Mrs. Merkel. While liberal intelligenzia with a sinking heart observes how Navalny heads "The Russian march" on November, 4th of last year, the crowd which powerfully scans: "Fuck off Caucasus, Allah is sodomite!"
At first sight, it should cause aversion and tearing away of Navalny’s figure among misters liberals, but it causes only a languid sigh: "He is their dictator..."
Here, to tell you the truth, we have one discrepancy. While such leader keeps silent, everyone can mentally put his own thoughts into his lips. The nationalist sees him as adherent who has smartly made his way in the alien camp of liberals, the liberal – as the spy in the camp of nationalists. But he needs only to start talking - and all magic illusion falls, both sides takes up their arms on the orator at once. As he starts talking either not what they want to hear or he does not tell anything comprehended. It was so after Navalny’s speech on the meeting on December, 24th ("Yes or no?") which frankly frightened many liberals. Though in essence the orator said almost nothing – people simply got afraid of intonation... So present pause of Navalny taken by him on meeting on February, 4th is absolutely not surprising, but is really delicately thought up – in his position “speech is silver, silence is gold”…
From editorial board: The author minces words. Michael Delyagin has already written in his blog:
"In Russia there are no such politicians as Zhirinovsky, Zyuganov, Mironov and Prokhorov. These "presidential candidates" were invited to address society in such quality and - got frightened to SUPPORT FAIR ELECTIONS. I would understand, if somebody from them went to other city or to Kurginyan. I would understand, if Zhirinovsky (he has the best political scent among them) carried out as alternative real meeting or procession, not that 45-minute long sprint (as mass-media informed) which made absolutely frank impression of being carried out “for a tick”, to justify evasion from participation in serious actions. They proved: they don't consider themselves future presidents, they have nothing to say to people of the country - and even to own supporters. They confirmed that they are not politicians, but puppets which were selected, as much as it’s possible to judge, for faultless pass of the Unified State Examination on kissing of boss’s ass. EXPLAIN TO ME: HOW TO VOTE FOR THEM AFTER THAT?"
Really - how to vote?
What "fair elections" wait for, if there’s no choice? No choice in general. – No cho-i-ce!
I would vote with pleasure for the cook having entrusted her to operate the state. But the cook also seemed to be too risky candidate for Putin in the Kremlin and they allowed only Zyuganov, Mironov, Zhirinovsky and Prokhorov to be sparring partners. None of them took obligations which would give him real chance on these elections - each of them found "more important matters" which didn’t allow them to address 100 thousand people audience! In what country of the world where race for power takes place will presidential candidates reject such chance? Only in Russia.
Possibly the main result of the meeting on February, 4th was the fact about which I wrote more than one and a half years ago – it would become absolutely unimportant after March, 4th who, how and for whom voted. Already today the basic slogan of the left and the right, ultra right and others became slogan “Away!" By March, 5th this slogan will become unique. Well, really, if we should hold meeting for Putin's fair elections?
Protest increase in regions (on February, 4th people hold meeting in more than 100 cities, but it is necessary to increase mass character) and demand of political strike, at that in the most sensitive branches - transport, communication, housing and communal services are on the agenda today. If the first moves more or less, the second seems fantastic for a while. While on December, 9th nobody could have imagined such mass character of capital meetings.
Let's recollect Zyuganov's words when he asserted that if 100 thousand people would walk to the streets in Moscow, they would bring him in the Kremlin with the help of OMON. As we see, such quantity gathered and not once. But not only nobody was brought in the Kremlin - Zyuganov got frightened to go to people. So it is possible to meet million on the streets - number of meetings won't solve the problem of the power.
It is necessary to strike putting forward political requirements on the most sensitive sites. Fear has many eyes. When strike would become a part of our life as usual form of struggle, no unexpected characters would come from nowhere – strike is class business, there couldn’t be accidental people.
Anatoly Baranov, editor-in-chief of FORUM.msk
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