An Election in Russia?

On Monday, voting closed in the Russian opposition’s online election.  170,000 had signed up for the process, but only 98,000 actually took the trouble to document their identity.  Of the registered voters, only 82,000 actually went to the polls to cast their votes.

The spinning began immediately.

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Another Disastrous Demonstration in Moscow

Russia’s opposition movement turned to violence on Sunday, after it was embarrassed by yet another puny turnout.  It bloodied police officers and pro-Kremlin journalists and it vandalized property. It became a mob, and a small one at that.  Once again, Russia sunk to a new low.  Its only accomplishment was that finally it forced the Kremlin to escalate the violence used against it, but that came at the cost of losing its own credibility and being led by a throng of neo-Nazis (Udaltsov), crypto-fascists (Navalny), Communists and hopelessly confused, leaderless, agendaless followers.

Yevgenia Khvoshchinskaya, a 30-year-old education specialist who was carrying a poster referencing Russia’s Decembrist revolutionaries of the 19th century, told the New York Times:  “I don’t know why I came. The last protests did not achieve anything. There is no program. The people are tired.”

Photos after the jump.

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Bold Predictions or Insane Ravings?

According to Boris Nemtsov and Sergei Udaltsov, the first week in May 2012 is going to be one of the most earth-shaking weeks in all of Russian history.

If they are right, on May 6, the day before Putin is inaugurated, we will see a “March of Millions” in which several million people will throng the streets across Russia to protest election fraud by the Kremlin. This despite a new poll that shows over 90% of respondents believe the demonstration sizes won’t increase from the past, where they maxed out at 100,000 or so.

And then on May 7, Inauguration Day, Putin will do the next-best thing to resigning:  He will pardon and release both Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev, and maybe some other “political prisoners” as well.

Are these the bold predictions of heroic warriors who have Putin right where they want him? Or are they the insane ravings of utterly failed pretenders tilting and windmills, and about to lose every last vestige of credibility?

Either way, the first week in May is certainly shaping up to be an exciting one.

Russia’s Pathetic Protesters

In one of the saddest commentaries yet on the so-called protest “movement,” poll results reported by RIA Novosti show that the “protesters” vastly prefer celebrity leaders like Leonid Parfenov, Boris Akunin and Yuri Shevchuk to political leaders like Vladimir Ryzhkov, Boris Nemtsov and Ilya Yashin. And not by a small margin, but by a factor of ten.  Aleksei Navalny takes second place to Parfenov, a man who has boldly declared: “I am a professional journalist, not a professional revolutionary. My job is to report, not to climb the barricades.”  Navalny, of course, has likewise never said he would be a candidate for office.

In other words, the man who the protesters want to lead them doesn’t want the job.  The D&G-rocking, iPhone-toting “protesters” want to be led by celebrity figures and be “cool,” not by political leaders and be successful. This is, of course, fully in line with our prior report which quoted one protester as observing:  “It all felt much more like a national holiday, a festivity. What’s more, not even a ‘festivity of disobedience’, but simply a festivity.” These folks are simply not serious, not worthy of respect, and no more a credible force for change in Russian politics than the yahoos of Occupy Wall Street.  In fact, OWS is far more potent and effective, which is pretty brutal condemnation of the Russian forces.