Two weeks ago, I noted that the economic crisis in Russia did not seem to be sparking much opposition, despite some liberals’ hot air about the potential stirrings of the placid majority whose quietude has been resting on the benefits of petro-profits. But reporters this week observed some cracks in the façade of Russian authority as Communists (KPRF) grabbed their banners and hit the pavement. According to the Moscow Times:
Tens of thousands of Communists took to the streets nationwide Friday to celebrate the 91st anniversary of the 1917 Revolution and gloat at how capitalism has led to the global financial crisis.Meanwhile, over at the Duma, V.V. Zhirinovsky continued to make a strong case for why he should never be President:
More than 150,000 citizens took part in the rallies across the country, according to the Interior Ministry, and in Moscow thousands of supporters marched Friday evening from Pushkin Square to Teatralnaya Ploshchad to commemorate the Revolution.
The global financial crisis was one of the key themes in the rally. "Capitalists! I recommend you start reading [Karl] Marx's 'Das Kapital,'" Zyuganov told the crowd in a speech.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the Liberal Democrat Party, criticized Communist official Vladislav Yurchik for congratulating his fellow Duma deputies on the holiday. "This is the day of a coup d'etat, not the Great October Revolution, and if such appeals are made in the auditorium of the State Duma, then if I were President Medvedev I would dissolve the State Duma today," Zhirinovsky said, RIA-Novosti reported.In fact, the President’s office does seem to be getting a little worried:
President Dmitry Medvedev ordered police on Friday to stamp out any social unrest or crime arising from the global financial crisis.But my guess is that this is most likely just tough posturing from Boo-Boo Bear Medvedev rather than an expression of real concern. Really, how worried can you be when your opposition looks like this:
"We have a stable state. … We do not need a return to the 1990s when everything was boiling and seething," Medvedev told a meeting of senior officials.
"The law enforcement agencies should keep track of what is happening," he said. "And if someone tries to exploit the consequences of the financial crisis … they should intervene, bring criminal charges. Otherwise, there won't be order."
And here's the usual poorly-produced accompanying video documentation (h/t to kg/thatcageygirl) of their self-declared subversion:
Yes, it looks like my earlier reports were all wrong. The opposition--feeding off mass discontent brought on by the economic crisis--is ready to knock out the Medvedev-Putin diarchy with the combined forces of aging Communists, teenagers hired to hold up signs, girls with flowers and artsy anti-authoritarians (bless 'em all).