Postcards from Ecotopia

old new lefty

old new lefty
alienation, discontent
September 16
Making trouble whenever possible
virgin novelist, middle school teacher for the morally handicapped, government bureaucrat, most famous unknown photographer in LA, PhD dropout, coat hanger sorter, presidential campaign worker, sewer worker, and retired guy -- but not in that order.


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MARCH 6, 2012 12:25AM


Rate: 8 Flag

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.



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informative post
I think we should have reached out more to Russia right at the end of communism and given them more support.
The kleptocrats are a huge class in Russia, so there is plenty of support for the status quo, regardless of how unenthusiastic those supporters are about Putin.

Neither the memories of the communist revolution nor Yeltsin's rocky return to capitalism make Russians sure that revolution has to be better than this.

I just don't know how it will play out. If Putin makes a few real reforms, reducing day-to-day corruption (you can't renew or get your driver's license or car registration or get your car inspected without paying a bribe) and allowing free local elections, people may be willing to wait another 6 years.

However, Putin's popularity in the provinces comes from his social spending and his budget requires an oil price of $130/barrel, which is far from guaranteed.

Too few or too cosmetic reforms and an oil price under $130 and he'll have zero support.

Those tears at the election results weren't promising. Maybe it was tears of joy that not that many election officials defected, but I suspect is was because he believes his own propaganda.
I don't know if the Roman senators were the first to pay people to vote for them. Stalin did not need to pay for votes. In recent history, Naser, Sadat and Mubarak of Egypt used to win elections by 99.99% of the vote. What I would like to know is where exactly does Putin get his power? Big money? R
I saw the pro-Putin protesters yesterday. Most people take this humorously. And they laugh about Putin, but feel very free here. They also love capitalism, although they don't like criminals. Gangster capitalism is not a term they use I do believe. And they HATE politics.. and they HATED communism.What they have now has a lot of problems, but sure beats the tyranny they grew up with. To them Putin is a joke, but not yet a real threat.
Putin is a loser. He thinks he can get voted out of that - moron politicians. As long as he's in power he will continue to harm Russia.

But just as America - despite any popular protests you might see - is completely beholden to her plutocracy so is Russia. That's why no one is in a position to call them out.
I haven't heard anyone laughing at Putin lately and Crooks and Thieves is understood by everyone to mean Putin and the party of power.

The pro-Putin ralliers were bussed into Moscow from elsewhere and paid to participate. The Moscovites were at the opposition rallies and there voluntarily. It will be interesting to see what happens on the first weekend.
Very interesting. The vote rigging here is easier to see, and thus easier to combat, than the much more subtle election manipulations we'll be dealing with in November.
Ballot-stuffing seems a waste of time and money; after all, as one of Putin's predecessors correctly pointed out: "Having the vote is nothing; counting the vote is everything." Some of us in America learned that lesson in 2000, much to our everlasting regret.

Yes, Russia is ripe for another revolution. I suspect all that is preventing it a determination of the reaction of the armed forces. Will Russian soldiers refuse to fire on their countrymen, or will Russia turn into another Syria? Syria, hell, a Russian revolution could make Syria's troubles look like a walk in Gorky Park.

On a related note, I wonder when the revolution will begin here, since the apparatchiks that run this country are as corrupt as the Russian mafia. As I recall, the Koch Bros daddy got his start in Russia -- he and his sons learned their lessons in oligarchy well.
We don't even realize that Putin kicked out the Chechen organized criminals who were corrupting a lot of Russian life. He has cleaned up a lot and stabilized a country that has a history of changing government overnight.

But you are so right. His hubris was the problem! He did get full of himself. This "president for life" gambit is not sitting well after he promised to end it after two terms and the corruption is still not under any kind of correction.

Now if we can deal with our own voting fraud and government corruption!
Malusinka - I was giving a merely personal reaction. Most of the people I know pretty much laugh about Putin - although, and I wasn't giving a scholarly assessment here - they probably should take him more seriously as a threat to democracy.

And I was simply trying to say - although I didn't say it well enough - that most people I know (it is not a poll, nor am I saying it is correct) are not, it does appear, that worried about "Gangster Capitalism" although they do worry about common crime. Not that they think corporate crime is GOOD, but that the worry is more about the latter.

But these are just comments about the people I know and, as said, not poll results and I am not supporting Putin in any way. Nor was I saying that Moscovites were NOT at the rallies. I didn't even mean to imply that.

I will say that most of the people I know - and they are not a representative sample I am sure - hate Putin, laugh at him as well, one went to a rally, the others did not, and mostly sort of seem to poke fun at it all (not that that is GOOD) and go on with their lives. (And I'm not saying THAT is great either.)

But it is your country - I gather - and your language and I am not being disingenuous at all when I say you probably have much more of a feel for what is happening than I do. I don't have much of a feel at all I suspect AND I am not particularly interested in politics here per se. (I commented only because the author here asked me to.)

It's not my country or my language. I'm American.
No idea how this plays out. So far as I know there's no constitutional means to force him out of office before his term ends. I wonder if after the initial burst of protests, the Russians will just stoically carry on.
Vlady, Vlady he's our man,
If he can't do it, Medvedev can.

I can tell you stories about that place, Lefty.
I trust you all noted that Putin does not swing that right arm when he walks. (watch him walk on the news clips) By the way, Putin learned to cry from mourners of Kim Jong Il.