Speculation surrounding the possibility of a "people's revolution" in Russia following recent events in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan has both the Kremlin and political opposition spinning alternative futures. Unfortunately, these scenarios have little to do with democracy and everything to do with power...since the opposition can't win at the polls, it hopes to gain power through encouraging the population to take to the streets.If you haven't kept up with the State Department's spin, don't miss the clanking of chains from the Washington Post Get Putin Gang. And let's not leave unconsidered the view from the aptly named Eurasia Net, funded by George Soros's Open Society. But I'll give Lavelle the last word. From his April Fool's Day send-up of the Democracy Stage Show crowd:
Anti-Putin youth groups – “Hey, where is the dough?”It's a relief to find a Russia analyst with a sense of humor yet the situation is no joking matter for democracy advocates. During the Cold War the US government got in the habit of playing Sorcerer's Apprentice then turning around a decade later and gasping, "Oh Lordy, monsters are on the loose!"
"The students who attained 15 minutes of fame after claiming to be anti-Putin are up in arms. The commentariat’s limited attention span appears to have let them down. “We made the right moves and said the right things – then everything happens in Kyrgyzstan!” an irate anti-Putin youth supporter screamed. “We aren’t receiving the respect, attention, and big bucks we deserve” he went on to say. “Kyrgyzstan! What is Kyrgyzstan? Who cares about Kyrgyzstan!? We are the mother lode – don’t you guys get it ?!” were some of the commentary to be heard. “What are we doing wrong? What do you want us to do?” were the closing remarks.
Yes, once you make them, it's not easy to control them, as Mickey Mouse learned the hard way.
In this case the marching broom is not a person, such as Saddam Hussein, but a system--a set of methods for putting on a whopping good imitation of a democratic movement. Of course necessity drove the inventions but this era compresses reaction time; the monsters, and the events they set in motion, can move much faster than a diplomatic corps and armies.
America is now out there on the cutting edge, advocating democracy as a cure for the world's most deeply entrenched social ills. So the Democracy Stage Show Kit should be deployed with great caution and only when all other avenues have been exhausted. Whatever we gain at the moment from slapdash use of the kit is lost when disillusionment with faux democracy sets in.
It's late in the day for such warnings but better late than never. That's why Pundita continues to harp on the situation, which is not even an issue here in the USA, thanks to our glorious mainstream media's tendency to fawn over their sources at the State Department and the thunderous silence from most of the blogosphere.
For more on Peter's thoughts on Russia's youth movement, read Moving to Nowhere. Note his remark, "Actually, the Kremlin candidates have lost a number of recent local and regional elections – usually to the far right."
And for readers who missed it, here is the Democracy Stage Show Kit and the unfortunately named (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) Not Clockwork Orange Century. The latter was written in November, which I now look back on as my era of fast-dwindling innocence about State's interpretation of the Bush Democracy Doctrine.
Oh and while you're visiting Peter's site, check out his report on the Kremlin's zeal at playing tax collector. Pity Vicente Fox doesn't ring up Vladimir Putin for advice on how to stay in power while nudging the ruling class to cough up unpaid taxes.