I don’t watch TV news so I don’t know how much of this is being covered in the American media. Social media only seems to various support color-coded revolutions and I haven’t seen much action on Twitter and Facebook outside of some specific Russian accounts that I follow.
To recap: the Parliamentary elections were held in Russia on Sunday, December 4th and while it was widely expected that the election results would be falsified, the cynical manner in which it was done and the sheer magnitude of the vote-rigging left many people angry an bitter. Multiple reports of the election fraud were posted on the internet, where many websites conveniently were having issues with handling traffic, allegedly attacked by the Secret Service. Nevertheless, voting protocols from various locations before and after the vote stuffing made it to the web. Reports of pressure, intimidation, threats and other violations of the election law were numerous. Despite the overwhelming evidence President Medvedev pretty much told the Western observers to mind their own business.
If you want to follow the events and don’t speak Russian, Google Translate does a passable job and is easy to use. If you are using Google Chrome (and possibly others) it might automatically ask you if you want a page translated. Some of the most popular Russian blogs are Drugoi (The other one) and Photo Travel and More by Zyalt; Citizens’ News Agency Ridus publishes tons of photos and videos, including live broadcasts.
Now some photos:
And a video:
Many opposition leaders were detained and one of the more popular ones – Alexey Navalny was charged and will spend the next 15 days in jail – maximum punishment for violating of public order. Today in Moscow more than 500 arrests were made and over 200 people were arrested in St.Petersburg. Many members of the press were harassed and detained at least temporarily.
Today the government organized a march of its supporters in Moscow, many bussed from out of town. Police turned blind eye to their violence:
…while continuing to harass and arrest the opposition.
Earlier this week the most concise and to the point impression of the elections in Russia was expressed by this sign – “You were fucked” carried by the demonstrating anarchists.
I usually try to stay away from political commentary, especially about Russia and the countries of the former USSR, because I don’t want to be one of the people bloviating from their overseas perches. It’s easy to be smart when this is not you being pounded with police batons and dragged into a detention bus. While I think that even in this country the voters are rarely presented with a choice of truly different political candidates, at least in the United States most people are sincerely convinced that their vote counts. Last few people who, despite all the evidence to the contrary, clung to that belief in Russia, had it stomped over by their government on Sunday. I’ve never seen such anger and bitter disappointment in my friends and bloggers who I’ve followed for a long time as they are expressing in the last couple of days.
There is obviously little hope for any intervention and help from the West, especially with the existing anti-Western and anti-American sentiment that is being fueled by the Russian Government, who often accuses the opposition of being employed by the Western anti-Russian interestss.
Russian people will have to figure this out on their own.
Feel free to comment if you are interested in more sites and feeds or have translation-related questions.