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Russian Opposition Figure Thinks Anti-Putin Movement Has Faltered 144

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the revolution-is-exhausting dept.
New submitter FilatovEV writes "Interview with Russian liberal opposition politician Vladimir Milov taken by Los Angeles Times reveals a different side of the Western narrative about Russia." From the article: "All they have for a plan is a very simple formula: Let's lead a million people out into the streets, and that will scare the hell out of Putin. He will run away, and we will grab power. But even if they get a sufficient number of people out in the street, they don't know what to do next. All they can do is chant their old anti-Putin incantations instead of offering a program of action. "
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Russian Opposition Figure Thinks Anti-Putin Movement Has Faltered

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  • yeah and? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by i_ate_god (899684) on Monday September 24, 2012 @06:24PM (#41444189) Homepage

    Ever see the movie Network?

    You have to get mad first...

    • Re:yeah and? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Shavano (2541114) on Monday September 24, 2012 @06:28PM (#41444227)
      Correct. And it should be pointed out that people don't have a responsibility to agree on everything just because they agree the current dictator had got to go.
      • by khallow (566160)
        There are consequences to throwing out a dictator without coming up with a replacement.
        • There are consequences to throwing out a dictator without coming up with a replacement.

          But you do it anyway when the consequences of keeping him are worst.

          • Re:yeah and? (Score:4, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24, 2012 @07:37PM (#41444761)

            Except that they're not. The Russians were fooled once with Gorbachev and Yeltsin. Unbridled capitalism does not work. Putin is a dictator, but he is a dictator who wants Russia to remain strong and to make oligarchs subservient to the interests of the state.

            It's exactly the same approach which has made China successful, except that China is about forty years behind in human rights terms: allow businessmen to get rich by doing whatever it is they do as long as they don't act against the interests of the country. By doing exactly the opposite since Reagan/Thatcher - i.e. making governments subservient to the will of big business - we are now in the shit.

            I would vote Putin any day. I don't want the right to a free press which will be ignored anyway - illusions of freedom serve no purpose to anyone but the stupid.

            • by ezdiy (2717051)
              Amen.
            • Except that they're not. The Russians were fooled once with Gorbachev and Yeltsin. Unbridled capitalism does not work. Putin is a dictator, but he is a dictator who wants Russia to remain strong and to make oligarchs subservient to the interests of the state.

              It's exactly the same approach which has made China successful, except that China is about forty years behind in human rights terms: allow businessmen to get rich by doing whatever it is they do as long as they don't act against the interests of the country. By doing exactly the opposite since Reagan/Thatcher - i.e. making governments subservient to the will of big business - we are now in the shit.

              I would vote Putin any day. I don't want the right to a free press which will be ignored anyway - illusions of freedom serve no purpose to anyone but the stupid.

              Amen !!

            • Re:yeah and? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by khallow (566160) on Monday September 24, 2012 @10:31PM (#41445973)

              The Russians were fooled once with Gorbachev and Yeltsin. Unbridled capitalism does not work.

              A system where ownership of capital depends on your connections to the ruling class is not capitalism but cronyism. And that's still the system in place today.

              By doing exactly the opposite since Reagan/Thatcher - i.e. making governments subservient to the will of big business - we are now in the shit.

              Let me guess. A UK resident who still hasn't gotten over the Thatcher era. No one else whines about Thatcher.

              As to Putin wanting "to remain strong", so did Reagan and Thatcher for their respective countries. The latter were far more successful than Putin has been.

              I would vote Putin any day. I don't want the right to a free press which will be ignored anyway - illusions of freedom serve no purpose to anyone but the stupid.

              Ah, so you're a useful idiot. One only needs to look at countries with a free press to see that your point of view is shit. Sure, there are blatant propaganda sources like Fox News in the US. But word gets around, be it in the "main stream media", the blogs, or whatever. One can't have genuine freedom if one doesn't have a clue what's going on.

              • by lyuden (2009390)
                > But word gets around, be it in the "main stream media", the blogs, or whatever In Russia we have several opposition radio stations, blog activity concentrated at livejournal.com and this site is in the hands of opposition if it is in anybody hands. Television is whole another story, but who watch TV's nowadays. The level of discussion sometimes quite low, I can get banned by people who says that there is no free speech in Russia, only for comment where I say that I voted for Putin. We don't have any
                • by khallow (566160)
                  Blogs can indeed be notorious for the egos and bizarre behavior of their owners. I've been on the wrong side of that before.

                  As to voting for Putin, his tenure in the KGB (and the relatively high rank he had when he left) makes him damaged goods as far as I'm concerned. I wouldn't vote for him just on that basis alone.

                  I admit that that background might make great training for dealing with oligarchs and crime lords, but anyone who thrives on such a soul-killing job probably shouldn't be anywhere near a
            • What, exactly, did Putin do in the "interests of the state", other than where it happened inadvertently when doing things in the interests of himself?

              And why do you state that the only other alternative is "unbridled capitalism"? I don't want that, but neither do I want Putin. Luckily, opposition has a whole spectrum of candidates who offer various positions, and some of which are moderate and to my liking.

              But do keep voting for the guy who stomps you. After all, as the guy himself says, if you don't vote t

              • What's good in modern Russia is that for one loudmouth idiot (pro-Putin or anti-Putin, any color or taste) there are 10 or 100 silent, but normal people, who just want to live their lives in comfort, mind their own business and raise their kids accordingly. What's bad... well, the same. So, with the help of small band of well-paid or just mentally handicapped people ("Nashists" from Seleger, extreme-right "patriots" or even Orthodoxal religious fanatics), our current powers-to-be can do absolutely everythin
              • by lyuden (2009390)

                What, exactly, did Putin do in the "interests of the state", other than where it happened inadvertently when doing things in the interests of himself?

                Who knows. But it's better then it was before him. And quite normal. So he has benefit of doubt.

                if you don't vote to keep him, you'll end up with someone else who'll stomp harder still. Right?

                Yes. If it's not Putin then it will be communists. Liberals never get close enough.

                • Who knows. But it's better then it was before him.

                  Buy a goat, sell a goat...

                  And quite normal.

                  A lot of people beg to differ. I don't consider it normal when the state, directly or indirectly, controls every TV channel in the country.

                  Yes. If it's not Putin then it will be communists.

                  Commies get, what, a steady 20% votes every election? They've got a single faithful bloc of people voting for them, but those are mostly aging people on pensions, and the further we go, the fewer there are of them. There is also a vocal young commie minority, but it's really tiny (same as vocal minorities on other sides of the spectrum, really).

            • The Russians were fooled once with Gorbachev and Yeltsin. Unbridled capitalism does not work. Putin is a dictator, but he is a dictator who wants Russia to remain strong and to make oligarchs subservient to the interests of the state.

              1. After the USSR has fallen apart, there was a period called primitive accumulation of capital (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primitive_accumulation_of_capital). It was very violent and unstable, but capitalism had not yet formed. It was pre-capitalism.

              2. When Putin came to power, capitalism was buried before it was born, the country spiralled into dictatorship. What it meant is that capital got redistributed again between Putins' friends and relatives. The only concern of so called government now is to en

          • by khallow (566160)
            There are a number of historical examples where the consequences of overthrowing a government turned out worse, such as the overthrow of the Czar of Russia or the ending of the Weimar Republic.
            • From TFA:

              How do your colleagues take your criticism?

              Unfortunately, they took my criticism very badly and accused me of having been recruited by the Kremlin. I don't have any relations with them now. I think these people must leave the political stage and engage themselves in writing stories and blogs, exposing corruption schemes and so on, and leave the political work to those who want to struggle for power in earnest.
              You, for example?

              Why not? I could make a very good opposition candidate.

              I do not know why TFA appears on Slashdot.

              What is Slashdot anyway?

              Is Slashdot a place for geeks whose interests are girls and tech.

              Or has Slashdot become a place for fanbois of Western democracies?

              Is Slashdot so hard up on credible stories that this type of shameless plug of a pathetic Russian politician.

              TFA has nothing to do with sexy technology, nor anything about online censorship.

              What the hell is Slashdot turning into?

              • What are these girls you talk about? Only thing I know about female has to do with connectors where the female connector tends to be the "hole" where the male connector inserts into.

                But what this has to do with girls, I have no idea.

                Perhaps a girl came up with the labels for connectors?

      • Yeah. They can build coalitions based on selling natural resources to foreign banks and vandalizing churches with nude, obscenity-laden "performances."

        Yay!

    • by siddesu (698447)
      If you've understood the message of the movie, you'd know that getting mad was part of the program. At least half of the Russian "opposition" leaders are most likely a part of the program to some extent.
    • by mspohr (589790)

      1. Get mad
      2. ?????
      3. Profit!

      It's always that middle step which is the problem.

  • Putin (Score:4, Funny)

    by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Monday September 24, 2012 @06:25PM (#41444203) Journal

    His small talk has changed foreign policy. Sasquatch has taken a picture of him. He once ran a marathon, just because it was on his way. He is... the most interesting man in the world.

  • by geddo (1412061)
    I tried to RTFA but I nodded off, where's the bacon guy... has he made to Cali yet?
  • Sounds like OWS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zlexiss (14056) on Monday September 24, 2012 @06:36PM (#41444295)

    Sounds much like Occupy Wall Street in the USA. Didn't like the status quo, but doomed with no clear platform or list of achievable goals.

    "We want change"
    "Well, what policy changes are you hoping get made?"
    "We don't know"

    • by wierd_w (1375923)

      It was more like:

      "We want change!"
      "What do you want?"
      "We want resolution on $Economic/Regional_Issue!"

      Where $Economic/Regional_Issue is a hugely disparate, often contradictory laundry list of intractible demands.

      Things like "no more bailouts!" And "bail out student loans!"

      The problem was that the OWS crowd could not agree on much beyond "the status quo is unacceptable!". As such, they could not *agree* on a short list. The overall demands from all the actors in the protests were untenable.

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        They don't want bailout of student loans, but they would like a change in the bankruptcy laws to where they used to be so that loans could be discharged through bankruptcy. There's a difference. One pays off investors. But the government stepped in and artificially limited investor risk, and the students would like that addressed. Interestingly, that's in line with the most conservative libertarian views, where the government should settle contract disputes, but not meddle in the available terms.
    • Re:Sounds like OWS (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday September 24, 2012 @06:56PM (#41444441) Homepage

      Occupy did actually make some fairly specific demands that were entirely ignored by those in power. One of the most notable was a demand that banks and if appropriate their officers be prosecuted when they were found to have committed fraud (the Obama administration instead announced a few months ago that they were closing the investigation on Goldman Sachs without pressing any kind of charge whatsoever even though some pretty damning evidence is a matter of public record).

      The vaguer message of Occupy was that the Democratic Party in the US has utterly ignored the liberals in their base in an effort to pander to Wall St and the right wing. And why should people like Obama do that, when all they need to do to get their votes is scare the bejeesus out of them by threatening them with the prospect of President Romney?

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Most (possibly all) political parties ignore their core voters because they have nowhere else to go. What are they going to do? Vote for the other guy?

        • by tomhath (637240)

          What are they going to do? Vote for the other guy?

          Not "the other guy", but sometimes they vote for some other guy. That's how Clinton got elected - G.H.W. Bush and Ross Perot together got something like 68% of the vote. But Clinton was elected with 42% because Reagan Republicans self-destructed.

          • by AK Marc (707885)
            Republicans? Everyone I talked with who voted Perot much preferred Clinton to Bush. I voted for Perot and would rather have had Clinton to Bush. I hear how Perot was a second Republican candidate, but I didn't see that in the people voting Perot. But then, I was in Texas at the time, living only a few miles from Perot.

            And the other rejection of that argument was that Perot got 0% of the electoral vote. He stole zero votes from anyone, by definition.

            The only real complaint I see in you comment is ho
      • by Animats (122034)

        The vaguer message of Occupy was that the Democratic Party in the US has utterly ignored the liberals in their base in an effort to pander to Wall St and the right wing.

        Yet the GOP panders to their most extreme right wing, even though there's no risk of losing that group.

        • by dkleinsc (563838)

          Well, here's the thing: Republicans pandering to their extreme right wing doesn't risk losing their big donors, because their extreme right wing wants many of the same things that the big donors want, like no taxes on investment and inheritance and no regulation of business, and the things their extreme right wing cares about like imposing Christianity on the rest of us the donors are totally fine with. For the Democrats, though, pandering to their base would involve regulating and taxing people who form ke

      • Re:Sounds like OWS (Score:5, Informative)

        by wierd_w (1375923) on Monday September 24, 2012 @07:07PM (#41444519)

        OWS was also the subject of a fairly successful smear campaign to malign the protestors as a bunch of lazy whiners, who wanted free stuff, as opposed to angry and disenfranchised people demanding culpability of the persons responsible for the financial meltdown.

        There were quite a few people frm both sides of the political spectrum in OWS, which the media capitalized on. The leftwing focused more on the social aspects, and the rightwing focused more on the financial. This was presented by the media as a heterogenous group without specific charges, who were protesting nebulously. The effectiveness of this slanted coverage is evident by the language used elsewhere in this thread.

      • Re:Sounds like OWS (Score:4, Insightful)

        by steelfood (895457) on Monday September 24, 2012 @07:20PM (#41444639)

        Haven't you seen any of the election coverage? "Liberals" don't hold the power. Independents do. Just look at the money spent on battleground states like Ohio and Iowa and Colorado. Now look at the money spent on firmly "red" or "blue" states like California, Texas, Alabama, New York.

        Who are independents? Well, if you're in IT support of any kind, just imagine your most average user. Imagine the most middle-of-the-road, undistinguished, normal person. Those are your independents.

        Don't get me wrong. They're not stupid by any measure. No, most of them are fairly good at what they do. They're just not really that good at anything else. Politics, understanding social issues, these are among the things they're not so good at. So to make a decision, they rely on campaign speeches and television ads and above all else, their gut feelings.

        The gut feeling is often useful in small environments of few variables. It is not so helpful when it comes to large things like national economies and social welfare and things pertaining to more than three individuals with three differing interests. But it's really all they have, since they're very average and the matters at hand are very, very complex.

        And they're not motivated by the wealth congregating in a smaller number of individuals. They don't care about the social ramifications of legalized abortions. Now, they'd certainly be interested if they weren't able to put dinner on their table every night, but they'd only be interested to the extent of getting dinner back on their table. They're not so interested in understanding the entire process where dinner ultimately ends up on their table, from deficit spending to farm subsidies to transportation to taxation to local education. They scratch their heads at such things. Now, bring in constitutional law, and they just turn away.

        A functioning democracy (not a republic, because we went away from that a long time ago) requires an educated, well-informed voting populace. We don't have a functioning democracy because the majority of the voters are neither, largely because they have been socially engineered since the advent of the television to have no interest in either.

        OWS was a failure of epic proportions. Or perhaps, in making these people look as ridiculous as they possibly could, and in allowing them a forum in which to vent, it could be considered an epic victory. Only, the people didn't win, the corporations did.

        • by tomhath (637240)

          Politics, understanding social issues, these are among the things they're not so good at.

          Are you saying that voting a straight ticket because you have always voted for that party shows a better understanding of issues? I fail to see the logic in that.

      • Re:Sounds like OWS (Score:4, Interesting)

        by nbauman (624611) on Monday September 24, 2012 @10:19PM (#41445895) Homepage Journal

        The vaguer message of Occupy was that the Democratic Party in the US has utterly ignored the liberals in their base in an effort to pander to Wall St and the right wing. And why should people like Obama do that, when all they need to do to get their votes is scare the bejeesus out of them by threatening them with the prospect of President Romney?

        I heard Amy Goodman of Democracy Now give a good answer to that, when she introduced Ralph Nader in the 2000 election. The Republican Party has been moving further and further to the right. The Democratic Party has been moving further to the right to match them. On domestic policy, the Democratic Party is further to the right now than Richard Nixon (don't forget, Nixon's secretary of HEW was Pat Moynihan). If we continue to vote for the Democratic Party, they will continue to move to the right until there's no meaningful difference between them. We have to vote for third party candidates to tell the Democrats that they can't take us for granted.

        Since that time, Obama gave us a health care plan that was literally written by the Heritage Foundation. His chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, told progressives that they were "fucking retarded" for wanting the single payer system Obama promised us. He appointed Wall Street financiers to run his White House. They tossed Acorn under the bus, which was one of the best campaign organizing tools they had.

        What I don't understand is why the Democrats didn't learn from 2000 that if you tell the left wing of your party to go fuck themselves, you can lose an election. Maybe it's like training a mule -- you have to hit them on the head with a sledgehammer -- again.

        I think it's like a strike. You don't want to go on strike, you don't want to lose weeks or months of salary, you don't want to take a chance on having your employer move to China. But if we hadn't gone on strike over the last 100 years, we would be making Chinese wages right now, and if we never go on strike, we will be making Chinese wages.

        Somebody tell the Democrats. If you tell us to fuck off one more time, we'll fuck up your election, just like we did in 1968 and in 2000.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What utter bullshit. May I refer you to this article [guardian.co.uk] by Naomi Klein:

      The mainstream media was declaring continually "OWS has no message". Frustrated, I simply asked them. I began soliciting online "What is it you want?" answers from Occupy. In the first 15 minutes, I received 100 answers. These were truly eye-opening.

      The No 1 agenda item: get the money out of politics. Most often cited was legislation to blunt the effect of the Citizens United ruling, which lets boundless sums enter the campaign process.

      No

    • by artor3 (1344997)

      Sounds much like Occupy Wall Street in the USA. Didn't like the status quo, but doomed with no clear platform or list of achievable goals.

      Sounds like the American revolutionaries. Did you know they didn't come up with the Constitution until over a DECADE after declaring independence? And that their Declaration of Independence had no clear platform or list of achievable goals, containing instead a paragraph of platitudes like "the right to pursue happiness" followed a laundry list of bitching about the status quo?

      I guess that must be why their revolution failed, right?

    • by nbauman (624611)

      They didn't know because the Bloomberg Administration kicked them out of Zucotti Park and kept chasing them away from any other place they tried to set up.

      Hell, the Bloomberg Administration wouldn't even let them use microphones. They refused to let them rent portable toilets, and then complained when they used restaurant bathrooms.

      How much would the Americans have accomplished if the Continental Congress had to disband after 2 months?

      OWS accomplished one good, important thing: They said that the richest 1%

    • Except it's not. There are very specific demands that Russian opposition is currently making, and most of them are centered around free and fair elections where opposition parties are not barred from registering for various contrived or mysterious reasons, and where there's no widespread fraud when counting the votes.

      The specific parties which make up the opposition also have their own platforms for policy changes, ranging from more vague stuff that e.g. nationalists talk about, to rather specific things th

  • 1) enact stricter enforcement and regulation on govt involvement with illegal activity. (Russians are supposedly good at being heavy handed. Cracking down on abusive behavior should be easy enough, as long as you can keep the pendulum swinging too far.)

    2) legal system reforms that provide immunity to witnesses and juries concerning testimony and verdicts. Make it safe to state what is true, and not simply what is "expected", or "approved."

    3) hardball removal and blacklisting of politicians, judges, and pros

    • Ahem... from 1917 to 1937 everything that has been done in Russia by bolsheviks has been done with the same premises - your 4 points were among their main principles (at least, many of them really believed in that). I doubt that anyone would want THAT to happen again.
      • Actually, only the first point was kind of in focus in 17-37. We know for sure that prison sentences were a contact-spread disease, we know that the prison system was harsh (and I mean, people rarely lived more than 10 years there) and the corruption was rarely, if ever, a concern. Because the real concern was a "dog eats dog" system.
  • So what exactly are you proposing then, a Russian revolution? Seriously, what *can* they do? They have no governmental authority outside of a vote, and even supposing Putin steps down (itself a ridiculous proposition) they still will have no governmental authority. All they would be able to do, without guns and ammo, is make some noise and hope his replacement listens.

    They already have a plan of action and it is shout into the wind and hope people hear. Perhaps enough people will hear so that Putin won't wi

    • by Alex Belits (437) *

      Perhaps enough people will hear so that Putin won't win the next election

      You know which party is consistently #2 in recent Russian elections, right?

      • Oh, that paid-off half-assed lap-dog clowns called "communists" today? Ones who don't even risk to voice their protests too loud, and would even (oh, the irony) distance from protesting people on the street, calling them "orange disease"? Please, they aren't even funny anymore.
        • by Alex Belits (437) *

          So do you prefer them or United Russia? There is also #3 (clowns with Nazi tendencies), #4 (more or less Socialists), and the rest are pretty much hated by everyone.

  • "Russians don't have any problems with Putin".

  • Putin is a man who rejects Western liberalism and its evil works. Russia is still trying to recover from communism, another ruinous Western invention.
  • ... paid pro-Putin poster. Since his russian forum is full of propaganda stuff about "rotten Western world", "stupid americans" and "great country of China".
  • You can't fight cheese curds and gravy [wikipedia.org] with ideology.
  • Sad but true. The West has demonstrated to the russian people over the 90s that capitalism and freedom means the freedom to exploit economic power to grab from the poor. I am afraid that this lesson stuck with them. Putin mangaged to redirect the (oil,gas) companies to pay enough taxes that a once bancrupt country is debt-free. The west has the habit of shaking the hands of dictators and oligarchs without considering moral whenever there seems to be profit and the wonder why the people in the tese countri

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