No doubt you've already seen the image of Vladimir Putin tearing up after he gave his announcement of his "stunning" electoral victory as President of Russia. Masha Gessen, author of Man Without a Face: the Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin feels that ultimately, Putin's electoral engineering will ultimately prove to be as elusive as G.W. Bush's short lived triumph in defeating Saddam Hussein's forces in Iraq.
In a radio interview yesterday on Background Briefing out of KPFK in Los Angeles, the Moscow resident described the surrealistic scene of tens of thousands of poor people who were bussed in from the provinces to synthetically celebrate Putin's brazen vote stuffing one more time. These people had been forced to take several days off before the choreographed Putin victory celebration.
During election day, many of these same people were on buses clogging Moscow traffic to do round robin vote fraud. How blatant was the vote rigging of Russia United? Busloads of provincials (actually wearing identifying arm bands in many cases!) deluged individual polling stations. They requested absentee ballots by the busload, and then they took off for the next polling place.
Even more cruelly, given the nature of gangster capitalism in Russia, party apparatchiks responsible for herding the phony Putin voters actually short-changed their buses, leaving many people with no pay for multiple days that they had to take for this indignity. This does not endear Vladimir Putin or Russia United to the provincial dupes.
Indeed, signs of major discontent have been breaking out all over the place. Go to the BBC website today to see how Russians with a wicked sense of humor have been lampooning both Putin and the rotten system that calls itself Russian government. Occupy Wall Street should have so much satire and creativity! But Occupy Russia has had its own momentum. In addition to the widely reported collosal anti-Putin demonstrations in Moscow, heavily guarded by Ministry of the Interior police and paratroopers, there have been more than 100 sympathetic demonstrations across the twelve time zones.
Not only this, but to quote Gessen, "the foundation of the Russian pyramid is being taken apart brick by brick" as numerous news readers on state run Russian media are rebelling. Not only is there occassionally actual honest, investigative reporting on the widespread nature of Russian vote fraud and government corruption -- but news readers are giving clear verbal and non-verbal signals of disgust about official versions of the news.
Lastly, it's a bad sign when the little folk begin to think of Vladimir Putin as one big joke. I saw one sign saying Lose Your Virginity with Vladimir Putin, and much guffawing has been done over the Prime Minister/President's vanity of too much plastic surgery and Botox lately.
Many people feel that Vladimir Putin is actually on very thin ice, and there is widespread talk that he may not be allowed to finish his third term as President of Russia. How this might be done, or who might do it is for now unspecified.
Hubris is an international condition. Stay tuned for further developments.