Russia: Bloggers React to the Storming of Tripoli

This post is part of our special coverage Libya Uprising 2011.

The end of the summer is not usually a busy period in the Russian blogosphere, but netizens are actively engaging in discussing recent events in Libya. Compared to April 2011, when Global Voices first analyzed Russian reactions on the conflict, opinions seem to be more polarised now; bloggers had divided into two distinctive groups of supporters and opponents of Colonel Gaddafi.

The liberal and nationalist sectors have been supporting the rebels, wheras communists and ‘impertsy’ (mainstream imperial-patriotic bloggers) support Gaddafi and have accused NATO of breaching the United Nations resolution.

Frequency of keywords "Libya" (blue) and "Qaddafi" (green) in the Russian blogosphere. Source: Yandex.Pulse

Frequency of keywords "Libya" (blue) and "Qaddafi" (green) in the Russian blogosphere. Source: Yandex.Pulse

Imperial-patriots and communists stick to the “Western conspiracy” discourse. As Marina Litvinovich has noted previously, sympathy towards Gaddafi is widespread among many ‘patriotic’ and communist bloggers. A number, as well as some quite elderly activists, held a meeting in front of the Libyan Embassy in Moscow, demonstrating support towards Gaddafi. Photo reports from the event were made by zyalt [ru] and dervishrv [ru].

Qaddafi supporters in Moscow. Photo by Ilya Varlamov

Qaddafi supporters in Moscow. Photo by Ilya Varlamov

Nikolay Starikov, one of the most popular online propagandists, wrote [ru]:

Что происходит в Ливии? После безуспешных попыток свергнуть законную власть руками «ливийских власовцев», после попыток сломить Каддафи бомбардировками, Третий Рейх, то есть простите, «демократические» страны выложили свой последний козырь. Массовый десант своего спецназа в столицу Ливии. Который прикрывается авиацией НАТО, а также враньем и  сценическими постановками «свободных СМИ».

What is happening in Libya? After unsuccessful attempts to overthrow the legitimate government with the hands of Libyan collaborators, after the attempts to break Gaddafi by bombardment, the Third Reich, or, excuse me, “democratic” countries had taken out their last joker. Mass landings of special military units into the capital of Libya. That is being backed up by the NATO aviation and the lies and the staged situations compiled by the “free media.”

And concluded, predicting Russia might be among the next targets of NATO, by rephrasing Russian Tsar Alexander III:

У России есть только три союзника: ее армия, флот и органы госбезопасности. Все остальные при первой возможности на нас ополчатся.

Russia has only three allies: its army, its fleet, and the security services. Everyone else would be against us at the first opportunity.

This view was opposed by Russian nationalist Vadim Bulatov [ru]:

1) Армия, включая элитную бригаду «охраны» Каддафи, до последнего воевать не стала. […]
2) Массы народа воевать на улицы не вышли. Скорее всего, понимая бессмысленность этой войны в блокированном от воды, пищи и прочего мегаполисе. Степень идеологического противостояния ливийского народа колониальной войне под своим руководством Каддафи вообще переоценил. Значит, антиколониальная риторика сейчас не работает как сильная идеология. Идеологическая война под антиколониальными лозунгами не эффективна. […]

1) The army, including the elite brigade of Gaddafi's guards, decided not to fight till the very end. […]
2) Human masses decided not to go out to the streets and fight with the rebels. It seems that they did it understanding all the senselessness of war in the city with blocked sources of water, food, and everything else. The degree of ideological resistance of Libyan people against the colonial war under Gaddafi's leadership, was overestimated by the colonel. It means, that anticolonial rhetoric doesn't work as a strong ideology now. Ideological war under anticolonial slogans is not efficient. […]

Aside from regular divisions of support and oppositions, some bloggers provided quite interesting observations of the situation in and around Tripoli.

brainw45h noted [ru] an irony of fate that Gaddafi and his ideals are being brought to life by his opponents:

[…] смотрю я на то, что происходит в Ливии уже полгода и понимаю – идеалы молодого полковника Каддафи, грезившего арабским анархизмом, наконец воплотились в жизнь.(Вот серьезно, именно таким мне и представляется анархизм.) По иронии судьбы и к большому несчастью для Каддафи они воплотились при его жизни и во время его правления.

[…] I'm looking at what is happening in Libya for more than a year already and I understand – the ideals of a young colonel Gaddafi, who was dreaming of Arabian anarchism, have finally brought to life. (Seriously, this is exactly the way I imagined anarchism). Ironically and very unfortunately for Gaddafi, they've been implemented during his life, and during his rule.

Oleg Kozyrev concluded [ru]:

Главный урок истории с Ливией – диктаторы и век Интернета несовместимы. Поначалу сломаются диктаторы малых стран, а потом и больших. Один за одним, неумолимо.

И только чрезвычайная бедность (Африка) или полное отсутствие Интернета (Северная Корея) на какое-то время могут каким-то диктаторам продлить существование. Но, думаю, 21-й век все же их последний век.

The main lesson of the Libyan story is – dictators and the age of the Internet are incompatible. At first, dictators of the small countries give up, then the dictators of the big countries break up. One by one, implacably.

And only extreme poverty (Africa) or a complete absence of the Internet (North Korea) can, at least for some time, give dictators a chance to prolong their existence. But, I think, the 21st century will be their last century.

This post is part of our special coverage Libya Uprising 2011.

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