A scandalous Russian politician known for his pro-fascist, anti-Ukrainian and woman-hating statements visited Ukraine and was happily sharing his extreme views at a press conference when a woman in the audience threw pickled cabbage at him and yelled, “You hate Ukrainians!” This politician hates pretty much everybody in sight but Ukrainians have been an object of his particularly virulent statements. And Ukrainians have always been known for carnavalesque forms of political activism.
This Russian politician was created as a political project by the Kremlin and the KGB in 1990 when it became clear that the rapid transformations the country was undergoing had produced a very large group of people who weren’t mentally equipped to handle the stress. These people were experiencing a psychotic break with reality and were too many to be dismissed. In order to provide them with an outlet for their rage and resentment, this “politician” (called Vladimir Zhirinovsky) was put in charge of voicing in very loud and obnoxious ways the most outrageous ideas anybody could think of.
The Russian leadership has been extremely good at organizing fake protest movements that absorb the votes of the discontented groups, create an impression that there is a variety of political parties in the country, and maintain the status quo.
This is why I always have fits of roaring laughter whenever people in the West try to inform me that there is democracy in Russia.