Saturday, April 14, 2007

Russia: Been There, Done That: 1917 To Be Repeated in 2017?

This article appearing today in French newspaper Liberation deserves to be translated for the American audience, as a reminder to all free peoples of this earth how very fragile freedom is.

Economics is always subordinated to tyranny. Healthy economics depends upon freedom. Free markets and the resultant rise in a people's standard of living both are vitally linked to democracy and its inherent control over government.

Russian police
[Thanks to Reuters and Liberation for this photo.]

Read my translation:

"Our Country is Dying, But Most People Couldn't Care Less"

On the edges of Pouchkine Square, in the center of Moscow, all you had to do this Saturday at noon was to wear a tattered jacket and cry out, "Liberty!" or say "Shame!" to be arrested by the OMON, riot police harnessed up like Ninja turtles. Several hundred demonstrators, or mere bystanders who assembled with the opposition movement called "The Other Russia," were held up, sometimes gently, sometimes by baton whacks, and thrown into police cars.

The former world champion chess player Garry Kasparov, leader of "The Other Russia," was detained just as he arrived at Pouchkine Square. "The Russian police state shows its real face!" sighs an old lady on the other side of the street, not too loud so as not to be noticed by the police who were raking up the crowd all around the square. Garry Kasparov was released three hours later, while a few hundred of his partisans were gathered in front of the police station where he was being detained, crying "Liberty!"

To prevent the opposition from forming a large mass of supporters on Pouchkine Square, the Russian authorities had imagined that this Saturday there would be at least three concurrent demonstrations, and deployed several thousand policemen and soldiers to the center of Moscow. They also provided a few rabble-rousers, like that group of fellows disguised as prostitutes, filmed by obliging film crews from Russian television, gathering evidence that what were assembled here were bacchanalian "transvestites" and not the political opposition.

A small gathering of pro-Putin youths, for whom Pouchkine Square had been reserved, were allowed access to the roof of Izvestia's building, to display a banner directed at the opposition: "Salutations to the political prostitutes paid by foreigners."

Confronted by this very impressive display of force, the "march of those who are not in agreement" was quickly disbanded: bystanders and demonstrators who tried to approach the Square today at noon were taken away, or became discouraged. "The problem is that the majority of Russians stay quietly at home," admitted Louri, a retiree of 61, observing this sad spectacle. "Our country is dying, but most people couldn't care less. They say that they can't do anything about it." Nelly and Viktoria, two cute 19-year-old students, passed by the Square coincidentally on their way to the movies, admitting: "We don't agree either with what's going on in Russia today. Nobody obeys the laws. And look: We can't even demonstrate freely!" They themselves also admit that "all of this is scary..." and they scurry off to their film.

"This is all a repeat," said Waldemar, a 70-year-old veteran of opposition movements, in an attempt to console himself. "As a former ministry employee, I'm supposed to live today with a retirement income of 2,500 rubles" (about $95), he explains. "Today, people are afraid: For every demonstrator, Putin sent us 5 or 6 cops. But the revolution will come," he assures us. "At the latest in ... 2017, for the anniversary of of our 1917 revolution!"

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Blogger La Russophobe said...

For the full details on the rise of the neo-Soviet Union, see here:

5:33 AM  

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