Day: June 22, 2013

Protests in Turkey and Russia compared

At Global Voices, Daniel Alan Kennedy discusses points of contact between the mass demonstrations in Turkey and the democratic protest movement in Russia:

Turkey is a popular holiday destination with Russians, who are drawn there by its beaches, proximity, low prices and a visa-free travel agreement with Russia. Last year alone nearly 3 million Russians visited Turkey. While some interest in current events there can therefore be chalked up to concerns for non-refundable travel packages, Russia itself has been no stranger to street protests in the last two years. Many Russians were quick to draw parallels: both between the two protest movements and the two political leaders.

While among supporters of the Russian opposition “comparisons of Erdogan to Putin abounded, particularly on Twitter”, Kennedy points out that pro-Putin Russians were more reluctant to back Erdogan, partly because of the latter’s position on Syria. More support for Erdogan came from Russian-speakers in the Central Asian republics, where what they perceive as Erdogan’s “steadfastness” contrasts with the indecision of their own local leaders.

Reactions of a different kind come from Russians of a center-right persuasion: at Sputnik & Pogrom, Yegor Prosvirnin writes that while the Turkish opposition movement turned the whole of Turkey into “one gigantic field of battle”, their Russian counterparts meekly complied with the officially permitted marching routes and moaned on their blogs about the Russian protests being “lost” (слит). What’s needed, according to Prosvirnin, is an injection of the spirit shown by the protesters of Taksim Square, transposed into classical Russian terms:

There is no need for any elections. No need for any protests. What’s needed are 1000 Russians. Not you – [Mayakovskian] clouds in trousers – but real Russians of pre-revolutionary quality who understand who they are, what they are, what to live for and what to die for. Not clowns in fancy dress with processional banners, not dickheads in black uniforms, but those who in the Land of my Birth [Родина] (I don’t say  “our”,  the post-Soviet proletariat has no fatherland) advanced with both banners and uniforms. Only a thousand are needed, and the country of decomposing Soviet monsters and insufficiently Europeanized white-ribboned phantoms will fall at their feet.

Не надо никаких выборов. Не надо никаких протестов. Надо 1000 русских. Не вас — облаков в штанах — а настоящих, дореволюционного качества русских, понимающих, кто они, зачем они, зачем жить и зачем умирать. Не ряженых клоунов с хоругвями, не мудаков в черных униформах, но тех, кто на моей Родине (не говорю «нашей», у постсоветского пролетария нет отечества) двигали и хоругвями, и униформами. Всего лишь тысячу, и страна разлагающихся советских чудовищ и недоевропейских белоленточных призраков ляжет к ногам.