Topless in Times Square: FEMEN Protests Putin in NYC
Times Square Rally: &# 171; Russia – yes! Putin – no!&# 187;
Russian America united against &# 171; Parties of crooks and thieves&# 187;
In Times Square in New York on Saturday, a demonstration against election fraud was organized by the For Fair Elections in Russia movement. Oleg Kashin, a journalist from Kommersant and blogger, took part in the action.
All in all, on this sunny but cool by the standards of this early spring, about 35-40 people gathered in Times Square, between 48th and 49th streets. The townspeople and tourists looked with curiosity at the demonstrators lined up along the sidewalk with a large banner “Russia – yes! Putin – no! ”
The main organizer of the rally, Ksenia Grubstein from the organization “For Fair Elections in Russia – New York”, introduced Oleg Kashin to the audience and handed him a portable megaphone.
“I don’t share the pessimism that gripped a certain part of society after the elections,” Kashin said. – Nothing terrible happened. First, any experience that accumulates does not disappear. Putin will be very surprised when, in a year, the people who passed through Bolotnaya and Sakharov will show themselves in the way he would not really like. Secondly, if Putin evaporated tomorrow, I do not think that peace and prosperity would immediately be established in Russia. I came to the conclusion that we do not need new opposition leaders, but a new, effective democratic mechanism at all levels. Therefore, the next year or two – and Putin certainly does not have six years – we need to engage in political education “.
Dmitry Glinsky said that representatives of 14 states of America are already members of the recently created American Association for Freedoms and Human Rights. “We should be grateful to the ‘party of crooks and thieves’ that has brought us together over the past months,” Glinsky said. – We got to know each other, Russian-speaking residents of America from different cities. In my memory, there has never been such a unity, not ten years ago, not twenty “.
Protests: Today and Tomorrow
“The people are offended by the authorities’ unwillingness to reckon with them,” said Pavel Khodorkovsky, the son of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, of the Institute of Modern Russia. – None of the opposition’s demands have been satisfied. I think the protest movement will continue. What we can do? Just two days ago, I was at a hearing in Brussels. Representatives of the organization “Golos” said that it is wrong to focus only on the presidential elections. It is necessary to fight for parliamentary seats in regional and municipal elections. I believe in the power of positive PR. So, gradually, the consciousness of civil society is being formed “.
Reminding the audience that “Putin is coming to us,” whom President Obama had invited to the G8 summit at Camp David, Khodorkovsky said with a smile: “We need to plan his reception. Let’s think together what kind of promotions could be held. We need to greet him with high quality. “.
“What is the“ Party of crooks and thieves ”for? – Human rights activist Yury Popov began his speech. – To make money. They are not going to live in Russia with this money. They are going to live in Europe and the USA. As Stalin said: “if there is no man, there is no problem.” If a person has learned much of their secrets, they kill him. For this, Magnitsky’s lawyer was killed. Becoming a law, the “Magnitsky lists” do not allow the stolen money to be taken out of Russia. “The Magnitsky Law” is a law against the “party of crooks and thieves”. According to our information, 31 members of the US Senate are already in favor of the adoption of this law in America “.
Anatoly Katz, who spoke at the rally, is 29 years old. From the age of 12 he lived in the USA, studied at the Brooklyn School of Technology, and worked. Then he got, as he himself put it, in the category of “returnees” – he returned to Russia. Lives in Moscow since last summer, works as a programmer at Rambler. Anatoly was an observer in the presidential elections in Moscow, at polling station No. 168 in Khamovniki.
“At our site, I can testify, the elections were fair,” Katz said. – Putin received 38 percent of the vote, and Prokhorov received 38 percent. This should give us hope. I hope that Putin does not last the entire six-year term. “.
Buy or intimidate?
The name of Oleg Kashin gained national and international fame after the brutal beating of a journalist in November 2010. Two unknown assailants attacked him near his house in Moscow and inflicted grave injuries on him. The reason for the attack could have been Kashin’s sharp publications, in particular about the conflict around the Khimki forest and about the Nashi movement. President Medvedev instructed to take the investigation under special control. In an article in the New York Times, Kashin linked the attack to the activities of Nashi.
As Oleg Kashin told the Voice of America, his appearance in New York is due to the fact that he received a Paul Khlebnikov scholarship and came to study at Columbia University for a month and a half. He answered questions from the Voice of America correspondent.
Oleg Sulkin: Several prominent journalists have appeared in mass opposition rallies. What do you think, will the authorities try to take revenge on them, individually or collectively??
Oleg Kashin: I think there will be such attempts. Journalists took part in these actions not from a good life. Putin has trampled on the political space, and there are simply no politicians. It’s embarrassing to talk about myself. I will name those who, like me, enjoy the confidence of the audience. This is Leonid Parfyonov, who has been deprived of the right to a profession for seven years – he cannot host television programs about news and politics – and for some reason this does not outrage anyone. The fate of Parfenov is an important confirmation of the essence of the Putin regime. In addition to him, there are Sergey Parkhomenko, editor of the Vokrug Sveta magazine, and Yuri Saprykin, creative editor of Rambler-Afisha. They understand that their relationship with the audience is more adequate than the relationship of any politician with voters. As for Putin’s revenge … December scared and offended him very much. We have never seen him like this before: offended, frightened, with a trembling voice and the notorious tear. I think there will be organizational conclusions. An attack on Ekho Moskvy began, the composition of the board of directors was changed, obviously this is the first step towards changing the entire leadership. Obviously, the leadership of RIA Novosti will be replaced, which covered the Moscow protests in detail and objectively. Other publications may also suffer, including Kommersant, where I work. I have no confidence in his cloudless future.
OS: There is another discussed scenario of the authorities’ actions in relation to the opposition, including journalists. It is believed that they will try to buy someone: high positions and high salaries.
OK .: Of course, this was already noticeable in the December message of President Medvedev, containing liberalization initiatives. But the authorities make a mistake, believing that opposition leaders can be bought. They forget that this movement is massive, networked. It’s like with the Strugatskys: the president thought he had bought a painter, but bought a hack, while the painter slipped through his fingers. If a leader is bought, it will instantly become known, and as a leader he will end in the same minute..
O.S .: The documentary “Putin’s Kiss”, which captures your relationship with the pro-Putin movement “Nashi” and its individual representatives, was released on screens in the United States. What are the chances that it will be shown in Russia?
OK .: These chances are called YouTube. This is hardly a good thing for the filmmakers, but the film can be found there as a pirated copy with Danish subtitles. Of course, it would be great to see him in cinemas in Russia. And not only. I do not understand why, for example, the Dozhd TV channel does not try to show it.
Journalist, film critic, correspondent for the Russian Service «Voices of america» in New York.
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