I see that Kasparov held another rally in Moscow. Nothing extraordinary seemed to have happened. Kasparov addressed the crowd with his usual “we need a different Russia” message. The crowd of 2000 chanted their usual slogans–“Russia without Putin!” Yawn.
It also seems that the Russian police have learned something. According to the report in the LA Times, “Monday’s atmosphere was less tense as the demonstration got under way, with the square surrounded by troops without helmets or visible batons, instead of helmeted riot police.” And the dwindling attendance also seems to be taking a toll. Kasparov addressed it directly saying, “It is not important how many people decided to come today. We are concerned about our future, about the future of Russia.” Sorry Garry but given the nature of your “movement” numbers kinda are important. Since you aren’t part of the electoral process, the only way to measure your appeal is by how many people bother to attend your rallies.
It appears that the most exciting part of the day came not from the protesters, but from protesters of the protest. Reports the LA Times:
A white truck repeatedly drove by the square blaring maniacal laughter that sometimes drowned out those addressing the crowd. At one point, people on a nearby rooftop unfurled a banner labeling the demonstrators “paid prostitutes” — echoing authorities’ claims that opponents pay people to protest and that Kremlin critics have support from the West.
I smell Nashi. I imagine the white truck looking like an ice cream truck with a giant clown head on it. Something like the ice cream truck in Nice Dreams.
One things for sure. No worry about the speakers not being heard. Whatever the “maniacal laughter” downed out, I’m sure repeat attendees to Other Russia’s rallies had heard it all before anyway.
Since it is clear that Other Russia’s rallies increasingly lack purpose, I can’t help wonder how the LA Times can justify this opening paragraph:
Chess champion Garry Kasparov and allies in Russia’s most vocal opposition movement held their latest showdown today with President Vladimir Putin’s government, keeping up their frequent protests with a demonstration in central Moscow.
I boldfaced the hyperbole in question. Two questions. Does Other Russia really represent a movement? My leftist American friends talk about the “movement” too but I see hide nor hair of it. Let alone it moving anywhere except for maybe further irrelevancy. Yes, Other Russia is vocal, but there seems to be a much larger opposition in the form of the KPRF.
I’m struck by the use of phrase “latest showdown.” Isn’t calling yet another Other Russia rally the “latest showdown” imply that they actually matter in some real political sense? I don’t know, but it seems to me that the LA Times description has more to do with its own fantasies that Russian political realities.