A friend in St. Pete has sent me these photos from the opposition's attempt to hold a rally during the G8 Summit:
The protesters tried to go down Nevskiy Prospekt, but, without any obvious reason, were stopped by the police pretty soon - and some were beaten up pretty badly. A few minutes (and arrests) later, the police let the rally move on.
(It's like they are sending a message: "Hey, look! Here're some idiots who think they can pull off a Maidan kind of thing. They can keep marching all they want - but only after a few asses have been kicked to ensure that no one else has the guts to join them along the way.")
The guy in the first photo was "basically senseless from a head blow." The other two photos are from the end of the rally, when the opposition "tried their hand at a maidanchik" in a small park.
"Ideologically incoherent" is how my friend described the rally: a bunch of Kasparov's "Westernizers," plus Limonov's National Bolsheviks, plus those babushki and dedushki (Anpilov's, I guess), with their terrible/ridiculous slogans ("Death to the Destroyers of the Soviet Union," "Stalin: A Real Man").
Many of these people consider Putin too liberal. Many are filled with nothing but hatred. If they are the only alternative to Putin - then, well, I hope Putin stays. And if this is how other people feel, too, then it's no wonder Putin continues to be Russia's president. What Garry Kasparov thinks he's doing with these people is a mystery to me.
Last year, I saw them all at two separate gatherings: on May 9 and by the courthouse where Khodorkovsky was being tried. Things must have changed since if they're now pretending to have joined forces.
"A sad and confused show," my friend wrote.
And: "The G8 crowd didn't even pay attention, and went on with the public stroking of VVP."
Sitting here in the crazy Ukraine and commenting on the Russia madness is way fun, of course. A joke I read a few days ago seems appropriate:
Mental asylum patients sit by the TV and watch the news. One of them jumps up and exclaims happily after each piece: "I'm so glad I'm here at the hospital! So glad I'm here and not there!"