Russians Protest Putin's Election
I was scolded last week for not keeping fnord12 abreast of international news, so here's some Russian news, such as it is.
Putin was elected President for a third term this past Sunday. He won easily with 64% of the vote. There were immediate cries of election fraud. Protesters gathered.
Thousands of Russians streamed through metal detectors for hours, past camouflaged trucks and under the whirring blades of a helicopter, to join a mass protest against Vladimir Putin's official return to the Kremlin.
The thing is, is anyone actually surprised? This is Putin we're talking about. The guy who basically extended his initial two terms by putting Dmitry Medvedev in the presidency. At no time has Medvedev been regarded as anything more than Putin's sidekick. In what crazy bizarro world were you living in if you didn't think Putin was going to make damn sure he got his seat back when he wanted it?
I think the only surprise has been the tepid response from the Kremlin against the protesters. So far, Putin's been allowing at least some protests. Those arrested are released within a few hours with all of their parts intact. The belief seems to be that the protests, if allowed, will run out of steam on their own. Obviously, the protesters claim this won't happen. If it doesn't, I would expect a much harsher crackdown. Putin is not likely to allow this to continue indefinitely.
This made me roll my eyes:
In a tweet on Tuesday the US Ambassador to Moscow, Michael McFaul, said it was "troubling to watch arrests of peaceful demonstrators" and "freedom of assembly and freedom of speech are universal values".
If I were the Kremlin, i would tell McFaul to blow it out his ear. Remember the Occupy protests and the use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrators? The rubber bullets fired in Oakland? The use of pepper spray on the UC Davis students who were violently sitting on the pavement? Yeah, uh, do your own housekeeping before you go taking that moral high ground, eh? Uppity.
By min | March 6, 2012, 2:07 PM | Liberal Outrage