In Moscow, people carrying umbrellas are being dragged away and thrown into prison transportation vehicles by police officers. Go see the photo at the link, if you don’t believe me. (The link is in Russian, of course.)
The reason why Russian police is hunting down people who use umbrellas is that an umbrella has come to symbolize resistance to Putin’s regime. Carrying an umbrella on a rainy day is quite a tiny and insignificant act of defiance (especially compared to what real protesters are exposing themselves to in Ukraine) but even this is not countenanced in Putin’s Russia.
Last week, the only TV channel in the country that is not transmitting 100% of news and shows that are sponsored by the government and approved by Putin gave the authorities an excuse to close it down. The channel posted a question on its discussion board that asked the viewers whether they believe that during WWII it would have made more sense not to defend the city of Leningrad. As you know, the blockade of Leningrad lasted 872 days and led to massive starvation of the civilian population of the city.
The TV channel in question suggested that viewers discuss whether the human cost of the blockade could have been lowered if the city had been ceded to the Germans. The government used this as a pretext to start a massive campaign against this TV channel for desecrating the memory of the defenders of Leningrad.
Now the channel is being closed down. The channel in question is called “Dozhd'” which means “Rain.” So the channel asked its supporters to signal their support by carrying an umbrella in one of the squares of Moscow. And now the umbrella owners are being arrested.
I’n writing all this because I keep seeing posts of the “Maybe Putin is not that bad” variety. People, wake up, he’s arresting people for carrying umbrellas in public and closing down TV channels for suggesting people discuss WWII. Yes, he is that bad and and worse. Jeez.