Friday, July 14, 2006

Another View of "Another Russia"

Sergei Roy's Intelligent.Ru has this interesting account of an American-sponsored [National Endowment for Democracy paid the bill] meeting of opposition forces in Moscow:
Date: Thu, 13 Jul 2006
From: Sergei Roy
Subject: Another Russia

Ambassadors in a Zoo

A “forum of oppositionist forces,” pegged to the
upcoming G8 summit, opened Tuesday in Moscow with
a series of scandals as grotesque as the
gathering itself, comprising a variety of
individuals whom the Political Journal referred
to as “political microbes.” Seeing that
microbes, though often deadly, are not notorious
for the amount of noise they make or any
particular hooliganism they indulge in, I would
rather opt for the Lunatic Fringe Zoo or some
such description of the “forum.” Their
self-appellation is “Another Russia,” though they
might just as well call themselves “Anti-Russia” and be done with it.

Most conspicuous at that jamboree were Eduard
Limonov’s National Bolsheviks, for they were
entrusted with the rare privilege of organizing
the forum’s security. In their enthusiasm they
started revising the lists of accredited
journalists, and threw out a couple of lady
journalists they for some reason took a dislike
to. While they were thus engaged, two young
gentlemen sporting clean-shaven heads infiltrated
the auditorium, scattered anti-Orangist leaflets,
yelled “Up the Empire!” at the speaker on the
podium (who happened to be Her Majesty’s
Ambassador to Moscow Anthony Brenton), and
completed their exploits with a poke at
ex-Premier Kasyanov’s face (eyewitnesses of the
episode report, with visible chagrin, that the
punch did not connect as solidly as it might have
done). An unseemly scuffle followed as the
Limonov security detail overpowered the attacker and carried him outside.

Well, one can sympathize with the Limonov
kids. Their F├╝hrer promised them they would jump
off helicopters, shoot their AKs from the hip,
hurl hand-grenades at the enemy ­ and all they
have been hurling to date at various public
figures has been raw eggs and the occasional
packet of cream. The scuffle with Dugin’s
“Eurasians” was at least more
physical. Interestingly, on this occasion the
National Bolsheviks refrained from yelling their
most endearing slogan “Stalin­Beria­GULAG!” One
wonders why. Perhaps they feared Mr. Brenton
might misunderstand them ­ or understand them too well…

The extreme left, bright-red flank was
represented at the “forum” by Viktor Anpilov,
leader of the Working Russia movement. It would
be interesting to find out, though, if there is
much to the “movement” besides the leader. In
the ‘90s Anpilov’s babushkas made striking
pictures on TV as they marched through downtown
Moscow with empty pans on their heads, which they
banged with spoons most noisily. Some people
said that heads might be employed to better
purpose, but the pictures, I repeat, were
TV-worthy, no question about that. In the Putin
years, though, those empty pans have been filled,
the old age pensions are increasing and almost
catching up with inflation, and Mr. Anpilov is
now only intermittently employed, invariably
treating his listeners to Hitler-like yells and
gestures and facial expressions to
match. Another Russia, indeed… Whenever I see
that mug on TV, I recall October 1993 and the
aftermath of the red putsch, when that worthy was
bodily dragged out of a haystack where he was
hiding in fear that the democrats would do to him
what he had fervently intended to do to them. He
has risen high in the world since then, to be
greeted, along with others, by HMA Brenton so
warmly as a true representative of “Russia’s real civil society”…

Other members of “Russia’s real civil society”
included representatives of that curiously named
organization AKM ­ Avangard Krasnoi Molodyozhi
(Vanguard of Red Youth). The acronym AKM is
clearly intended to coincide with that of
Assault-rifle Kalashnikov Modernized. It would
again be interesting to learn if Ambassador
Brenton got that message ­ and if he did not,
what was he doing being an ambassador to
Russia? Another interesting question to ask
would be this: How would Her Majesty’s
government react if some foreign-funded
organizations called a similar gathering in the
UK ­ and greeted attending Real IRA members as
true representatives of real British civil society…

And it is a fact that the gathering at the
Renaissance-Moscow Hotel was fully funded by
foreign structures ­ Soros’s Open Society and the
National Endowment for Democracy (of the latter,
the Wikipedia says: “Although administered by a
private organization, its funding comes almost
entirely from a governmental appropriation by
Congress.”) And that is the only feature that
all members of the assembled zoo share: red,
black, pink, orange ­ they are mere tools in the
hands of foreign forces hostile to
Russia. Unable to find any other political
agents willing to jeopardize their relations with
the electorate by figuring too obviously as
puppets in foreign hands, these Russophobes
scavenged around the lunatic fringes of the
political arena ­ and naturally came up with a bunch of real weirdos.

You would have to seek high and low among these
members of the “real Russian civil society” to
discover a single individual elected by the
people. I haven’t. The electoral potential of
the zoo members is so close to a flat zero as to
be indistinguishable from it. Garry Kasparov’s
electoral potential would have to be counted in
millionths of a percentage point. Misha “Two
Percent” Kasyanov will be beside himself with
glee if he gets anything like two percent come
2008 ­ not in kickbacks, as in his
prime-ministerial past, but in votes. Unelected
and unelectable, that’s what they all are.

People with any claim to political respectability
with the Russian electorate have boycotted the
gathering. All of them ­ Zyuganov’s Communist
Party, the Union of Right Forces, Yavlinsky’s
Yabloko, all of them. Valeria Novodvorskaya,
that venerable and prominent member of the
Russian demshiza, the “democratic psychos,” went
so far as to picket the zoo carrying the plackard
that said, “Do not attend the councils of the impure!”

Well, foreign ambassadors did not heed that
plea. Apart from Mr. Brenton I have mentioned
before, mixing with the zoo inmates were observed
Canada’s Ambassador to Moscow Christopher
Westdal, the prominent US diplomat Ambassador
Richard C. Holbrooke, Assistant Secretary of
State Daniel Fried, and smaller fry. What price
diplomatic tact, you might ask ­ but you would ask in vain.

A Canadian journalist asked President Putin, in
one of the series of interviews he was granting
in the run-up to the G8, what he thought of the
“counter-summit,” apparently referring to the
“Another Russia” gathering. For once, the
redoubtable interviewee Putin was stumped ­ he
clearly did not understand what the hell she was
talking about. The lady prompted him that it had
even been attended by foreign ambassadors. The
president deadpanned: “Well, if they wish to
interfere in another country’s affairs, God help them.”

I somehow do not think that even He will help them. Not in today’s Russia.
More about this meeting on Konstantin's Russian Blog...