Russia: Dissenters’ March in Moscow (2)

On the one hand, president Vladimir Putin's spokesman admitted Tuesday that there had been instances of “overreaction” by riot police during the opposition's weekend rallies.

But on the other hand, also on Tuesday, opposition leader and former world chess champion Garry Kasparov was summoned for questioning to the Federal Security Service (FSB), on suspicion that he had been propagating extremism.

There is a lot of media coverage of these two and other post-rally developments (here's what comes up when you google “kasparov kasyanov limonov” – this AP piece, for example) – but below is a bit more of what Russian bloggers have written about the Dissenters’ March in Moscow itself, as well as links to their photos.

(Warning: as in the previous installment, some links here lead to blogs with bandwidth-intensive content.)

- LJ user drugoi (photos and video);

- LJ user jetturtle (photos);

- LJ user zhenshen (photos);

- LJ user sholademi (photos featuring riot police in the context of the city and its various ads and signs):

On April 14, OMON fighters in Moscow took part in the casting for commercials of world-famous brands.

- LJ user khit (text):

April 12, 2007 -

I'm a dissenter, too [I disagree, too], but I'm not going to the March. Because what I disagree with isn't what the Communists, nationalists, and Limonov people [limonovtsy, members of Eduard Limonov's National Bolshevik Party] disagree with. And don't try to explain to me that Communists and limonovtsy are absolutely not what they used to be, and that the nationalists who are going to be there are all good – derivative from the word “nationa” and not “ethnicity.” This [mixed up mass] smells of unscrupulousness. Not political unscrupulousness (you can't surprise anyone with that now), but human unscrupulousness. Disgusting.

April 15, 2007 -

Yes! Yes! Yes! I went there, even though only a day before, I was explaining in detail why I wouldn't go. But I wasn't lying. […] I don't regret having gone there. It was something to be seen with my own eyes. In order to once again realize that this regime is mean. And also to understand that, alas, we are not ready for resistance. Alas!

- LJ user orthannaer (photo, text – here, here, here, and here):

[…] An OMON sergeant. A normal guy. Some female journalist was trying to get him talk on the subject of whether he “enjoyed defending the regime” – so I also spent some time talking to him. I'll skip the conversation's beginning, here's from the middle:

He asks me: “Have you come here to cause something bad to happen?”

- No, I wouldn't want anything bad to happen. But if the fighting occured here, it would be my duty to tell how it all went, who started it first.
– Ah, come on, as always, you'll write that it was OMON that beat the crap out of everyone.
– If you start it, I'll write this. But if the NBP people set upon you, I'll write that they are the idiots.
– Oh yeah?

Then [an officer of superior rank] approached and we pretended that we were just standing next to each other. Then the guy said that they couldn't be photographed, and couldn't talk to journalists, and couldn't do anything at all – because they wouldn't get their bonus money if they did. I [ignored] this ban on photographs and took a picture, shooting upward, from the hip, and the guy didn't see it.

Anyway, what am I trying to say? If you approach them with hatred, you'll get hatred in return. Folks come out of the subway and look at the cops as they would look at animals, or mud beneath their feet (and I've seen many people like this today), and then they are for some reason surprised that they're being grabbed by their hands and taken to jail [obezyannik, “monkey cage”]. Cops are people, too. And they differ from one another. Just like anywhere else, some are bastards, and some are normal guys. […]

- LJ user bee-n-noa (photos, text):

[…] When we started photographing the police, an OMON fighter came up to us and asked if we had any posters with us. When we asked him what he'd do to us if we did have posters, he said mysteriously: “Well, it depends on what the posters say.” And after another question – “And what if it said, ‘Putin, give us back the election'?” – he lost patience and said that he wasn't allowed to talk with us. […]

- LJ user krocodl (text):


* There are many young people in the audience. I spoke with a friend a while ago, and he complained that he didn't like today's kids too much, because they seemed somewhat zombified to him. But there [at the March], there were many good faces, with thoughts and feelings in their eyes. This, of course, is a plus, but the minus is that OMON is aiming exactly at these very people. I heard it myself – when the Marsians [OMON fighters] were jumping out of the bus, their commander was yelling, “Grab the young ones first.” With such an approach, they'll become even more interesting and more adult in a while, of course, but I'm afraid it'll get pretty hard to explain to them about law and non-violent resistance. […]

* The second-largest group is, of course, people aged 50 and more. Something worth noting is that there are a lot more “middle-class” representatives now […]. Pensioners and the very elderly people are the second most intense group, too, whose drive can only be compared to that of the National Bolshevik Party guys. An idiotic country, where only the youngest and the oldest can afford being active – because both don't really have anything to lose. […]

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