It’s The Gulag For Nemtsov!!

Uncle Volodya says, "Hey, Boris! Sing us a couple bars of I Fought The Law And The Law Won"

The Russian Flag for Dummies

Breaking news!!! Stop the presses! Boris “Will The Real Leader Of Russia Please Stand Up” Nemtsov has been arrested!! I’m not kidding, this is a big story!

Yawn. Okay, I’m kidding. Oh, Nemtsov did get arrested, with plenty of photos showing his chiseled torso to great advantage and sending a frisson of pure lust through the loins of Russophobic females everywhere. But it’s not a big story. Honest. Here’s the World News page of the New York Times for July 31st – see anything on Nemtsov? Me either. Well, let’s try the Washington Post , stories for the last week of July to today. Nothing there, either….hmmm. Oh, I’m sure some papers picked it up, but if it’s not in one of those, it’s not a big story. Not in America, anyway. More on what a big story Nemtsov is in Russia a bit later.

First, I’d invite you to take a look at something that is a stated and intentional goal of political activists everywhere: that’s right – getting arrested. Says Britain’s most-arrested (22 times) nuclear weapons activist Marcus Armstrong, “It gains a lot of publicity, and I would not have missed the opportunity”, arguing that incarceration is a powerful part of the protest process. Yes, it is, especially if you’re fronting a protest movement that is so feeble that you need to get arrested to get your picture in the papers. Getting arrested was exactly what Nemtsov hoped would happen.

That leads me to wonder if Prime Minister Putin (assuming he really does spend a lot of time thinking and worrying about the Nemtsov threat to the Medvedev government, which he may well not), rather than being the psychic, all-seeing Eye of Mordor the Russophobes would have you believe he is, might not be just a little slow. I mean, how much political savvy would it have taken to seed the gathering with hecklers, who would burst into laughter and jeering at everything Nemtsov said (which by some accounts wasn’t much; according to La Russophobe, he was arrested while signing an autograph), thus denying him any credibility, rather than arresting him, which was what he wanted. After all, that’s the way democracies do it. United Russia needs to have a Samovar Summit with the Tea Party.

Let’s try and make some sense of what happened, shall we? I mean, the press is hardly likely to get it right. We’ll have to look for clues. Okay, here’s a couple. The Moscow Times, which often likes nothing better than stirring the toilet bowl, reports that the Nemtsov protesters numbered about 200. And that those who weren’t arrested disappeared in the crowd that was on scene to see the car and motorcycle show. What can we glean from this? Well, it can’t be much of a protest movement. In a city that boasts a population of nearly 5 million, 200 people doesn’t sound like what you’d term a grass-roots groundswell. Still, I guess it’s pretty impressive when weighed against the 30 who demonstrated in Vladivostok and Kiev. Next, we can divine that the crowd gathered for the car and motorcycle show must have been considerably larger, since it’s difficult to disappear into a crowd that’s smaller than your group. Also, and bearing in mind that protesters’ assemblies are never approved and always get fobbed off with the excuse that some other group is using the venue, it’s fairly clear that there really was some other event going on at the time; the car and motorcycle show. Maybe the authorities responsible for granting permits often lie, but evidently they weren’t lying this time.

You may get the impression that I have some kind of major hate on for Nemtsov. I haven’t. The few times I’ve heard him speak, he’s come across as an intelligent, articulate man with a sense of humour and a talent for politics, although I’m not sure how much of a compliment that is. I see Boris Nemtsov more as a tragic clown who can’t seem to get it through his head that the people don’t want him. If they did, nothing could stop him from getting elected. You can’t tell me the same people who lived through a 900-day siege without breaking can be tricked by a rigged election in which the candidate everyone voted for didn’t get elected. Russians might not live in the democratic conditions westerners do, but they’re not stupid. Vladimir Putin is popular in Russia, and it’s not because he scares Russians shitless, while Nemtsov is not. That’s just a fact, and while you can make of it what you will, it’d be damned hard to run an opposition campaign on it.

Good luck with that, Mr. Nemtsov.

This entry was posted in Boris Nemtsov, La Russophobe, Russia, Uncategorized, Vladimir Putin and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to It’s The Gulag For Nemtsov!!

  1. kovane says:

    Mark,

    once again, I want to commend you on having such a sharp eye for bullshit. I might add that your English is excellent, your job must be tied somehow with writing. Do you speak Russian? You wrote that you’ve visited Russia several times.

    • marknesop says:

      Hey, kovane; thanks very much! No, I’ve always enjoyed writing but am not professionally involved with it in any way. I am a career military man with over 33 years of service. I speak a little Russian, and probably understand it much better than I speak it, since it’s a common language at home – my wife speaks almost nothing else to our daughter, who is fluently (for a 3-year-old) bilingual. I can read it, laboriously. I visited Russia so often because our security services got the notion in their heads that my wife and I were spies or something, and so held up her immigration processing that what normally took about 9 months (at the time) ended up consuming the better part of 3 years. We were married in 2002, and she didn’t get here until just before Christmas, 2005.

      She helps me out with anything I need read in Russian, and gives me sensible advice on what Russia is really like that I couldn’t acquire without having grown up there. Her impressions are coloured by her social standing, of course – her family is far from wealthy, but she was never poor. People who are desperate often have a far different impression of life anywhere. Russians are proud of their country, and why shouldn’t they be? It’s not perfect, and some things could use fixing more urgently than others, but deliberate insult is no way to go about making the point.

      • kovane says:

        Knowing that there is such people like you in the West gives me a faint hope that the future of Russian-Western relations is not as grim as it seems today. Please, carry on with your writing. I can only admire your diligence in refuting LR’s attacks. She is really obsessed with what she does, nobody can take it away from her. Anyway, good luck to you and your family.

        BTW, How did you guys meet? I know that the Ukrainian population is quite big in Canada and even today it is a popular immigration destination in the post-Soviet states.

        • marknesop says:

          That’s very flattering, but I don’t think Russia is so much disliked in the West as it is misunderstood. Having ignorance by the shovelful rammed down your throat every week or so doesn’t help. I’m not opposed to people who have been there, and still don’t like it for a good reason. But those are usually not the people you find starting up Russophobic hate blogs.

          I met my wife in Vladivostok in 1998, during a port call there by the warship VANCOUVER. It was random chance; she wanted one of the berets our sailors wear with their uniform ashore, and wanted to trade a set of those nesting dolls for mine. I invited her and her friend aboard for a tour, and all the time I was making desperate plans for trying to make a beret from a seat cushion or something, because I knew I had left mine at home. Anything to keep her attention. In the end I bought one from a shipmate for $10.00; he didn’t need it, as he was flying home from the next port. We exchanged addresses and began to write, and things just sort of evolved from there.

          Our first Christmas here we were invited to a children’s Christmas party at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre. She met several Russians there, and our circle of Russian acquaintances continued to expand. You’d be surprised what a large Russian community there is in Canada, although the largest are usually in the major cities (Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal) where most immigrants locate, hoping to find countrymen so it won’t be so lonely and there will be someone who speaks the language.

          What about yourself? Are you Russian? If so, you speak English as if it were your mother tongue.

  2. kovane says:

    “Having ignorance by the shovelful rammed down your throat every week or so doesn’t help”

    That is absolutely true. All that “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”, Russian reversal jokes, etc. I guess the Russians took up the place of blacks in the Western media – you can make fun of them and feel good about it without being a racist. By the way, if you look at this article (the authors tried to range major newspapers according to their attitude to Russia) you’ll be pleased to find that The Toronto Star is the most Russia-friendly newspaper.

    http://www.e-generator.ru/news/index.php?news_id=8255

    That’s a very good story. Sometimes intercultural marriages turn out to be a horrible experience but more often it’s a wonderful opportunity to learn more about other countries while having a happy family life.

    I’m an ethnic Russian and I’ve been living in Russia my whole life. Thank you for complimenting my English, but it’s not so good: I often struggle with difficult parts and have to consult a dictionary. Not to mention the fact that my spoken English is embarrassing – I haven’t had an opportunity to practice it in years.

  3. Pingback: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Protest Rally | The Kremlin Stooge

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