This post first appeared on Russia Insider
Russia held elections September 8th for the Moscow City Duma. The usual suspects put on protests in the city.
Of course, the Western media siezed the opportunity to spout the usual anti-Russian canards about how the elections weren't free etc etc. What really happened?
Let's continue talking about the elections. Today is Election Day, the culmination of the election campaign. But there was a parallel process - street protests in the capital, timed to coincide with the elections to the Moscow City Duma. At first, the cause was that several candidates were refused registration due to a large number of frauds in the signature sheets. After the CEC dealt with each case in a detailed, public, and demonstrative manner online, the topic of non-registration became a disadvantageous item on the protest agenda. And the topic of non-registration quietly went away. Then they began to hold street non-authorized protests against alleged police brutality, some "political repressions", and in defense of those arrested.
As of now, the Prosecutor General's Office has dealt with the police and National Guard. Examining the actions of law enforcement officers, it recognized them as "highly professional" and legal. The court meticulously dealt with those detained during the non-authorized rallies, hearing witnesses, studying the circumstances, and details on video, taking into account the testimonies of the parties, the arguments of the investigation and the defense.
The Investigative Committee dismissed the criminal cases of civil disorder against five suspects. They are Dmitry Vasiliev, Sergey Abanichev, Daniil Konon, Valery Kostenok, and Vladislav Barabanov.
Others were less fortunate. For violence against police or National Guard officers, Moscow's courts sentenced for 2-3.5 years of imprisonment the following people. They're Kirill Zhukov (hit a National Guard officer in the visor), Yevgeny Kovalenko (threw a trash can at a National Guard officer). Two people pleaded guilty and made a deal with the investigation. They're Ivan Podkopaev (sprayed gas at the face of a National Guard officer) and Danila Beglets (dragged a policeman by the arm). There are appeals ahead, that is, the opportunity to appeal the verdict.
Under the same article - Violence Against a Representative of the Authority, Nikita Chirtsov is still under investigation. He'll be under arrest until November 2nd.
Konstantin Kotov, a programmer, was sentenced to four years of imprisonment. Earlier, he was repeatedly arrested administratively for violations of the procedure for holding rallies. Given the number of his violations, the recidivist was sentenced to imprisonment.
Max Steklov, a blogger, got the severest sentence so far. His real name is Vladislav Sinitsa. For appeals to kill law enforcement officers' children, Sinitsa was sentenced to five years in a general regime penal colony. Some now try to think of his post as of a harmless stupidity. But imagine yourself being a father of the family, a police officer, who is intimidated by the fact that his child may not return home from school, and they will send him a kind of "snuff video" with the child being tortured or even murdered. It's forbidden to quote this post by Steklov-Sinitsa now after the court decision, but we retold it very close to the original. It sends cold shivers down the spine. By the way, this story split even our human rights activists and political activists. Journalist Nikolai Svanidze, for example, considers such things unacceptable and that the verdict is correct, although "harsh." Gennady Gudkov, on the contrary, doesn't see anything wrong about this. On Echo of Moscow Radio's website, he scolded the judges and sincerely wrote, "Where are the appeals, where are the intentions, the intent, where is the incitement of hatred, or any other corpus delicti?" Isn't it hypocrisy?
Also, several other people are accused of various crimes after the protests in Moscow. They're Aidar Gubaidulin, Alexey Minyailo, Samariddin Rajabov, and Eduard Malyshevsky. It is clear that all these names are already well-known and the subject of controversy among activists, but a law is a law. And the courts will work in accordance with it.
Does this mean that it's prohibited to protest? Of course, it doesn't. Russia is the world champion in freedom of speech. The Constitution is working. And the country's president sees something useful in the protests. Here's what Putin said about it last Thursday in Vladivostok.
Vladimir Putin: “When people express their views, also during protests, I believe that they have the right to do so. This sometimes yields positive results because it shakes up the authorities and leads them in the right direction so that they address people's problems more effectively. But they should act positively, and they should be guided not by their own narrow mercenary and group interests but the interests of the country and the people. They should act within the lines of the established regulations and laws.”
That is, protests are useful when two conditions are met. When the attitude is positive and determined by the interests of the country and people, and acting in line with the laws. When both elements are missing, there are problems.
As for Moscow, the story of the waves of discontent speaks for itself. They criticized Moscow's authorities for everything - the demolition of kiosks, the introduction of paid street parking, the reconstruction of roads and sidewalks, including the replacement of pipelines, the renovation program, providing for people's resettlement from old apartments to new ones, and even the urban greening program. What would happen now if all this criticism really stopped the modernization of the city? We'd be surrounded with kiosks now. Old pipelines would break down. The city would get stuck in traffic jams, in part due to chaotic parking. Entire boroughs of Khrushchev's five-story buildings would turn into slums. Would it be nice? It wouldn't, would it? So the protests are a curious thing but someone should be engaged in peaceful creation, just get the work done.
Speaking of our wild protests, there are also broken lives. When young people jump on the police during banned rallies, this has nothing to do with democracy. It's the capital's authorities that practice democracy by approving some rallies and banning others. They're guided by social harmony when doing this so that some residents do not create inconvenience for others. To take care only for oneself only is another thing. This is anarchy. Criminal or even administrative responsibility under the articles related to anarchy doesn't decorate any biography in any country in the world. This is a bad record. It's always some restraint in one's future life. This is no good.
And what is the result? As to the numbers, this week, the Moscow City Court released data, according to which about 1,000 administrative cases were opened after the non-authorized actions on July 27th alone. They've considered 480 cases so far. 376 offenders will have to pay fines, 89 will be subjected to administrative arrest, two people will do compulsory works, thirteen cases were returned to the police for clarification. This is in addition to those who got criminal punishments. We've already told about them.
And what about the leaders of the protests? On the day when the first criminal sentences were announced, that is, on Tuesday, the Navalny brothers had fun at an indecent party at the prison tattoo exhibition, which opened in the Art4 gallery in the center of Moscow. The main exhibit was a roughly tattooed man with a drooping bottom and an incredible belly. Believe it or not, but he introduces himself as a feminist woman, whose name is Dana Frieder. Dana Frieder is even a bit known on the web.
“I'm Dana Frieder. That's true.”
He's a transgender person who has retained all of the primary male sex characters. But he still insists that he's a woman. But he prefers to be photographed in profile. He was once expelled from a women's club with a scandal. But here, he's the life and soul of the party. In addition to the above-mentioned, on the day when the verdicts to the participants in the illegal rallies were announced, there also were Pyotr Verzilov, a veteran of the group Voina, at the DJ console, his ex-wife Nadezhda Tolokonnikova danced nearby, who served a sentence for blasphemy in the Moscow Cathedral. Nearby, Lyubov Sobol was also having lots of fun in a red dress.
Clearly, there were lots of bitter comments on the Web.
Anton Krasovsky, journalists: “They apparently celebrated Sinitsa's five years, Podkopaev's three years, Beglets's two, Zhukov's home arrest, and a large-scale victory on the Moscow City Duma elections. In such cases, I'm not surprised by the fact that people dance on bones, but the fact that they shoot their dances and upload it to the web.”Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!
And who are these people? Opposition? No. Nowhere in the world, such people would be considered the opposition. The opposition is at a way higher level. The opposition is an organized political force capable of taking power, including the responsibility for its supporters, all of its people, its country. The opposition is a force capable of and inclined towards creation.
These people aren't able to organize even themselves, and they aren't ready to be responsible for its supporters, even less for the country and the people. But who are they? Well, they're protesters. Troublemakers. The tradition of turmoils is centuries-old in Russia indeed. It is always seductively and insidiously hiding somewhere. Then, everyone begins to regret it a lot.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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