Once again, this time shouting that “there is not enough personal anger in this fight,” Alexei Navaly has led a street demonstration in Moscow against Vladimir Putin. He has proved unable to maintain the size of the demonstrations, which are now half what they were in their heyday, and unable to expand their geographic reach beyond Moscow – a feeble gathering of barely 2,000 showed up in St. Petersburg. The demonstration was called a the March of Millions, and indeed sex months ago Navalny had promised to have a million or more on the streets. But the size of gatherings has moved in the opposite direction from what he predicted, consistent with what we have said from the beginning.
In fact, as has been the pattern, it was quite difficult to get a clear picture of how man people there actually were on the street this past Saturday. Reuters and Financial Times said it was 50,000. AFP said 40,000. AP and New York Times lacked the courage to quote any figure. Russian police said it was just 14,000 while the psychotic left-wing charlatan Sergei Udaltsov claimed it was 150,000.
Meanwhile, in craven fashion, Putin’s press secretary refused to comment on the fact that tens of thousands were calling for Putin’s ouster on the streets of Moscow, while he sojourned in Sochi and met with the dictator of Belarus.
Navalny sounded desperate, and vaguely like a new sort of Russian Communist. He screeched:
The other side knows that they stand to lose millions, their yachts and their houses on the Cote d’Azur . . . we have to see our fight for freedom and for equal rights as concrete things. The destruction of corruption means the country’s riches for all of us and equal rights mean equality for all our children and not just cushy jobs for the children of the Kremlin elite. We have come out and demonstrate to ensure the future for ourselves and for our families. We have to come out as if we were going to work.
Navalny, it seems, has abandoned his ludicrous claim that he would force the Kremlin to hold a new round of less corrupt national elections that would allow him to gain a foothold in power. Now, he appears to be courting the support of the Communist Party, by far the largest single group in attendance (their red flags dominated the protest square, along with the black-white-yellow banners of the Russian Nazis). One demented Communist went about declaring: “Death to the Bourgeoisie!” The Party itself beamed with pride, stating that the protests had turned “notably red.”
This is what Russia’s so-called protest movement has come to. Navalny has failed so miserably that his last best hope is to become a communist, just another way of leading Russia into the same sort of darkness favored by proud KGB spy Vladimir Putin.