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Words of The Week — Spring Edition

Medvedev’s Coat

On May 1, during the traditional May Day parade, then-President Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin were on a mission to get closer to their electorate. Or it might be just Medvedev who couldn’t miss the opportunity to show off his brand new white coat. For better or worse, they marched along with people, shaking hands, kissing children, discussing the bright future of the country… Well they did it, and they did it pretty well, and the coat—was fabulous:

Medvedev’s white coat

But they went further in their intentions to discuss everything with ordinary people and stopped by Zhiguli bar. However, the only person allowed to talk to the tandem, was Valeriy Trapeznickov, grade 6 mechanic and Duma delegate known for his great obsession with both Medvedev and Putin. Rumor has it, the entire bar had to be evacuated prior to the arrival of the Tandem. Which is no surprise, since the event was aimed at newspapers and television.

Putin and Medvedev enjoying a beer in an evacuated bar

The International Workers’ day (May 1), or the Festival of Spring and Labor, is a tradition dating back to the Soviet times. Russians celebrate it with parades: some to bring back the spirit of the soviets, some to drink beer in good company, some to show their children what the 1st of May is about, some—to show off a coat… even so, on these marches all Russians feel united through and through.

March of the Millions

On May 6, thousands of Russians walked out in a protest of the upcoming inauguration of Vladimir Putin. The national protest rally, “March of the Millions”, accumulated between 20 and 80 thousand people in Moscow alone.

During the Moscow rally, protesters clashed with the police, forced through the cordons and gathered in improvised sit-outs in the streets. The protesters’ demands included providing the opposition with live air time on federal television and repeal of the recent presidential elections. The demands were never met.

Independent news media reported injuries on both sides, with the police and the protesters clashing fiercely at around 6 PM in the Bolotnaya and Manezhnaya squares in Moscow.

The opposition clashed with the police during the March of the Millions

The government strategy to contain the March of the Millions was to set up a series of security checkpoints that dramatically slowed down the entry into the official rally space.

Following the usual pattern, the Kremlin forces organized a series of pro-Putin events simultaneously with the national protest rally. No reports of violence or clashes with the police came from those events. Russia’s anti-Kremlin sources claim these events are only attended by professional stand-ins and workers of state-funded companies. The latter are allegedly forced to attend the pro-Kremlin rallies by their employers.

Visual approximation of Pro-Putin and Anti-Putin rallies

The rally was followed by a new opposition-organized rally, this time dubbed “mass strolls”, which is legal to hold, yet very irritating for the police. Alexey Navalny and Sergey Udaltsov, the biggest opposition activists, will remain in jail for another two weeks.

Today’s opposition in Russia is known to have organized and performed dozens of walkouts and rallies against Putin and the falsified results of both Parliament and Presidential elections in Russia.

Chechen Parking

An unusual incident turned heads on the 1st of May in Moscow, near the shopping mall Evropeisky, starring the closest relatives of Chechen vice plenipotentiary Tamerlan Mingaev.

The members of the Russian youth movement “Nashi” were conducting a traditional “Stopham” event (from Russian “хам”—savage), putting big round stickers on the windscreens of every wrongly parked car. A lady on a posh offroader, who turned out to be Mingaev’s wife, was so insulted with such outrageous behaviour of young activists, she called her son and his friends to teach the offenders some manners. A fight broke out between the Nashis and the young Chechen men that arrived to the rescue.

A fight between Stopham and the Mingaevs

The media picked up on a story and unwound it into a full-fledged scandal, which led to Ramzan Kadyrov, president of Chechnya, firing Mingaev from his high position.

Russian pro-Kremlin political youth movement “Nashi” was created in 2005 as a patriotic, democratic, anti-facist oraganisation and its activity is, allegedly, aimed at modernization of the country and establishing an integrated social order. Since the Nashis are closely connected with the Kremlin, their reputation is constantly under attack from the opposition. Few would argue, though, that teaching the savage drivers to park properly is a good item on their agenda.

River for Sale

Last week a remarkable offer was brought into focus by the media: an official from the Russian Ministry of Transportation offered a 40-year-old stranger to purchase a position of general director of the Moscow Canal. This may look like a random fraud, but don’t be too quick on judgment.

The “ministry official” later turned out to be an ordinary resident of the city of Pskov, being not even close to any ministerial positions. Such a sophisticated plan of earning some extra money is an additional reason to respect the guy who was trying to sell… a river.

The position of Moscow-Canal-Poseidon costs, as it was revealed, 20,000 €. However, the romanticism of the whole story wrecked on the letter of the law. The 57-year-old Pskovian was detained for fraud before he was able to close the deal.

Football Season Over

The Russian football (soccer) season is almost over. This year, Saint Petersburg’s FC Zenit became the team most worthy of holding the crystal cup over its head. Even though the members of the Russian Premier League have still got one last round of matches to play, mathematically Zenit secured their lead 3 games before.

The night Zenit was declared champions, the northern capital of Russia stayed up all night celebrating.

This pretty much closes the 2011/12 championship. It has been by far the most news-provoking one.

Racism. As the World Cup-2018 will be held in Russia, the eyes of international football officials are fixed upon all possible imperfections of the system. And, God bless their souls, their Russian colleagues make these imperfections as shiny and easily discoverable as possible.

Even though spiffy-looking presentations of stadium projects did the trick and Russia’s bid won, the previously existing problems didn’t disappear. On the contrary, racist encounters like banana cases and middle finger flashings occur practically every week. It’s a shame.

FC Anzhi. Most of world championships do have glory hunters’ teams owned by big time oligarchs and capable of buying practically any player in the world. Russia isn’t lagging behind anymore, having its own FC Anzhi, with Roberto Carlos, Samuel Eto’O and Guus Hiddink as the manager. The team did keep the observers amused, with all their statements about buying Messi, Ronaldo and basically any other world class players. Just because they can.

Originally published at Bears & Vodka. You can comment here or there.


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