Wednesday, March 7, 2012

And the winner is....


I contemplated ending this blog post here as kind of a "nuf said!", but, actually, there’s more to the story.  I think it’s clear my blog is in no way a repository for political banter but I would be remiss not to share our local observation of the political history that has taken place in Moscow over the last 75 days. 
We have had a unique and, I think, special opportunity to literally walk out our front door and observe the protests first-hand.  A political hum started here in Moscow back in December that has worked into a protest anthem that's being sung by Russians loud and clear.

In Moscow, from all accounts, after speaking to many locals, the contempt isn’t necessarily with Putin, although there’s plenty of room for argument there.  Putin is often viewed locally as a stabilizer of the country over the past decade or so.  From what I’ve observed, what Russians most want is an end to corruption and unfair elections.  Those sound like reasonable requests.

Police poised with a brigade of water guns...that were not used.

It’s an interesting phenomenon -- to walk among protesters. (Side note:  we haven’t run out to actively mingle with the crowd....we literally could not walk to the gym, the grocery store, the metro without being engulfed by throngs of opposers).  It’s unlike anything I’ve experienced in the U.S.  We left, of course, before the “occupy X” hysteria took residence in big cities across the U.S. and in other necks of the worldwide woods.       

White ribbons worn as a statement of solidarity

The first big organized protest took place shortly after the Duma (their government) elections in early December.  Some accounts say upwards of 60,000+ showed up in a park next to our apartment.  Amazingly, no violence reported.  The protestors were well dressed, academic types - the emerging middle class. 

Several other protests took place over the last several months and again after the presidential election on Sunday and a day after the election this past Monday.  This activity will go down in history books as the loudest political “voice” the Russians have had since the Soviet Union fell in 1991.  It’s been amazing to hear their voice just outside our windows. Is the Kremlin listening?  Time will tell...