Putin has moved into the on-deck circle

Massive rally in Moscow ends without clashes

People attend a rally in Moscow, December 10, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

Rally organizers claimed that about 40,000 people had gathered at the square and 10,000 others joined later by marching from the Revolution Square. But according to the Interior Ministry, there were some 25,000 protesters in Moscow. China Daily, 12-11-11

A few days ago, I wrote about the Russian parliamentary election which Putin’s United Russia won handily.  I saw the coverage of the election and the accusations of fraud as being politically motivated.  I contrasted the coverage in the Chinese and Russian media with the pro-western coverage – wondering in the process how one of our highly contested and controversial elections, such as the one between George Bush and Al Gore which was resolved, not by voters, but by the Supreme Court, would look when being reported by Russian or Chinese media.  Many Gore supporters claimed the election was stolen and that maybe there had be fraudulent votes counted in favor of Bush in Florida.  It was a very controversial election and one that easily could have been characterized as undemocratic by unsympathetic media.

That was way I read the news on Monday and Tuesday immediately after the voting in Russia; clearly I was wrong.  By this weekend even the Russian and Chinese media are reporting on the protests and questioning Putin’s role in the outcome; in fact all of the stories I found characterized the protestors favorably and questioned the election outcome.

Vladimir Putin, like a good Middle Eastern dictator is portraying the protestors as being American dupes. Putin’s initial reaction does not sound much different that Mubarak, Assad or Gaddafi statements when the demonstrations first started in their countries.  It is just a year ago that one man unleashed the pent up emotions of most of the Arab world with his protests; that man launched the Arab Spring with his death.  The people in the streets this weekend appear to be very like those in the early protests in Egypt, young, middle class and well educated; and like the Arabs they appear to have been frustrated for a long time.  Maybe 2012 will continue the upheaval of 2011, but with a new character and flavor.  Mr. Putin are you listening?  Mubarak and Gaddafi struck out, Assad is at the plate and you are in the on-deck circle.

“People are just tired, they have already crossed all the boundaries,” said Yana Larionova, 26, a real estate agent. “You see all these people who are well dressed and earn a good salary, going out onto the streets on Saturday and saying, ‘No more.’ That’s when you know you need a change.”Moscow Times, 12-10-11


1 Response to “Putin has moved into the on-deck circle”

  1. 1 lynne rosner December 11, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Mr Mugabe has ideas of running too. Mr Kabila returned to service too, and not without violence in the Congo area. God knows what Assad is thinking. These men are criminal too…its a game with a never ending lineup of worth.

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