Monday, March 26, 2007

Casually Observing Russia

This past weekend, a couple of notable political rallies were held. On Saturday, in Nizhnii Novgorod, some estimated several hundreds gathered near the city's center to protest against, essentially, Putin's administration. The West (e.g., Associated Press) reported arrests, detainments, and even beatings. Apparently, the government had approved a gathering of the dissenting groups outside of the city environs, but the demonstrators chose to challenge the official restrictions.

In contrast, an estimated 15,ooo (!) Russian youth associated with the Nashi, or Ours/We movement assembled apparently without incident on Sunday, smack in the middle of Moscow, in order to mark seven year of Putin's leadership. According to reports, participants were encouraged to send text messages of encouragement to the President, via SMS (ubiquitous in Russia).

Now, Nashi membership is largely composed of teens. But the same is true of the less popular National Bolshevik Party, a rather nationalistic movement led by the apparently charismatic Edward Limonov (a nom de plume).

Oddly, on this Monday, the Nashi site has been down for many hours (and they're using a good Russian HTTP server), while the NBP site seems alive and relatively well (not many recent updates).

It's most likely a simple sysadmin thing. But after perusing the NBP's section about Our Fighting Girlfriends, one quickly recognizes how the group can attract young men.

Yes, Russia is something different.


crusader88 said...

Interesting. Due to Putin's heavy popularity, I am surprised even several hundred were brave enough to gather. For the most part, I consider Putin's administration problematic...but he's still likely the best Russian ruler since Tsar Nicholas II.
Also quite paradoxical to have a nationalistic Bolshevik party.

This is your nephew writing. Hope you continue doing so well as you are now.

Willi said...

L, great to hear from you!!!!

We must speak in person!