Protests in Russia

I have nothing but contempt for the Russian protesters who tried to come out against the pension reform in recent weeks. These weepy posts make me want to barf.

The Crimea is dying. The Northern part of the peninsula will have to evacuate. The rest will be dead within a decade. It’s an enormous ecological catastrophe.

The reason it’s dying is the lack of water. There is no way of bringing fresh water to the peninsula if not from Ukraine. There are also massive shortages of food but forget that. Without water to irrigate and flush out the waste, it’s all turning into a desert that stinks of sewage.

But what does it have to do with the people who protest the pension reform in Russia, you’ll ask?

As I reported back in 2014, Putin spent the federal reserves that guaranteed the stability of the pension fund on annexing the Crimea and invading the Donbass. This was not a secret. It was all openly discussed and voted for by the parliament.

As the vote was coming in, today’s “underprivileged protesters,” as the linked article refers to them, cheered. They were all ecstatic when Putin annexed the Crimea, invaded Ukraine, and sent troops to Syria. These very people were howling with joy after every invasion. They kept saying that they are ready to eat stones if that meant they could have the Crimea. I mean, that was actually a fashionable thing to say.

Now the time has come to pay for the fun they’ve had. It’s a costly and stupid kind of fun, but as Klara says sagely at the bookstore, “We always have to pay for our purchases, Mommy.”

The anger of these protesters is caused by the discovery that invading other countries isn’t cheap. That’s the extent of their political conscience. They want to invade and murder at will and not have to pay for it. And now they are really really pouty that this is not how life works.

The worst part is not that they are getting knocked in the teeth by the Russian police but that they won’t learn anything. Tomorrow they will cheer another invasion and then pout when it turns out that bombs, troops, and weapons cost money.

20 thoughts on “Protests in Russia

  1. Invading and taking over Crimea is turning into a slow motion rolling disaster…. too bad the stupid fucks who supported it won’t learn any lessons from it. For all I care they can eat toxic dirt and work till they drop and I wont’ shed a tear.
    I am sorry for the people who weren’t cheering on the fool endeavor and will also be affected.


    1. It’s painful to see photos from the Crimea and read the accounts. I don’t know how dumb one has to be to cut it off from the only source of fresh water and expect anything good to happen. It used to be a tourist area but now the tourism is dead. What was the purpose of all this remains unclear.


      1. “tourism is dead. What was the purpose of all this remains unclear”

        After talking with a colleague who spent a month-long academic visit there a friend and I (who’s also fascinated by the Black Sea) had made tentative plans to visit Crimea (pre-invasion of course) obviously that’s not gonna happen now…

        Putin’s plan was obviously to build a land bridge to Crimea called Novorossija and he gambled that enough Ukrainians would jump at the chance at rejoining a Russia that was a little better off to make it happen…. and he had (and still has) no plan B once that didn’t happen (with a vengeance it didn’t happen).


        1. I’m stunned at the piss-poor quality of the intelligence that made him think it was going to happen.

          It’s funny how many people don’t understand the nature of nationalism and the kind of feelings it produces. Nationalism is a powerful thing. You don’t mess with it unless you are really ready to face the consequences.


              1. Well, you are from there, you know better. My uneducated guess, on the other hand, would be that the percentage of Russian nationalists/imperialists/other -ists useful for Putin should be higher there than in the Baltic states.
                And then there must be (again, by analogy) some significant group of people who are not pro-Putin per se, but who do not like the ways nation-building is happening (enforced cultural uniformity on the basis of not-their-language, their loyalties being constantly questioned because of their origins, things like that). They may never join Putin, but they will have great difficulty fighting alongside the hardcore nation-builders.
                Then there must be a fraction that due to post-Soviet cynicism does not trust anybody and is loyal to nobody. These would not fight for Putin, but they would not fight against him either.


              2. Russians who were so into Russia all left a long time ago. Why would they stay in a much poorer Ukraine? It’s different in the Baltic states that are richer and nobody wants to lose the standard of living and the European citizenship. So the pro-Putin Russians stay and stew in the midst of the cognitive dissonance.

                The Ukrainian language was never promoted in the slightest degree in Eastern Ukraine. There was nobody to promote it if the population was 100% Russian-speaking. People who tried to speak Ukrainian were seen as quaint eccentrics.

                Putin’s mistake is confusing language and nation. He thought that Russian-speaking had to mean pro-Russian or at least having some attachment to the language and its culture. But that’s not how it works. I was a first-grader when I read in a textbook that Russians are “the older brother who leads everybody to the communist future.” I came home and started asking who was Russian in our family. It was very disappointing to find out nobody was. This kind of thing stays with you. And then there is a lifetime of hearing the Russian people saying very casually that you are provincial, a peasant, etc. Watching all of the Ukrainian characters on TV being portrayed as simpletons, hearing the jokes about salon, watching Verka Serdyuchka. This stuff hurts. And it breeds a reaction. I grew up hearing people laugh about Russians who are messy,dirty, don’t change their sheets, have silly beaten down women, are all stupid drunks, don’t know how to make money or lay a nice table. Tiny little resentments that you don’t even notice consciously but they accumulate. And then there are people like my mother’s family who grew up completely Ukrainian-speaking in the Donbass and had to discard their language in adulthood and adopt a different one. My mother was always the most pro-Russian member of the family. Drove me nuts with her “we are just like Russians, the great Russian language is the most beautiful in the world, etc.” But the resentments of a lifetime are all still there. After 2014, she turned into a fanatical Ukrainian nationalist.

                My husband said a while ago, “I don’t get this. We all lived so peacefully together during the USSR.” And I said, “You lived peacefully. We hated you, guys.” It wasn’t necessarily a conscious hatred but it was there. And the second you bring in the troops, people who for generations had no use for Ukrainian culture or language suddenly become conscious of these feelings because now they have a name for them.

                Putin is the author of Ukrainian nationalism on a par with Shevchenko because he gave Ukrainians a reason to find a name for these centuries-long resentments. Idiot that he is.


              3. Wow, I wrote a whole essay.

                Goes to prove my point, I guess. 🙂

                I have a colleague who is a fanatical Ukrainian nationalist from the Western-most part of Ukraine, Uzhgorod. Doesn’t speak a word of Ukrainian. We get together and talk about how much we detest Russian. In Russian. I tell N, “You see her, the first thing you say is Glory to Ukraine! because she’s scary that way.”


              4. It does not let me reply under the correct post any more… (For some reason it does not let me “like” it too… ) So apologies if this is confusing.
                Yes I liked your “essay” very much and hope that you are right. I am always amused by those who sincerely believe in the “friendship between the nations” in the USSR. But your essay also contains the ingredients for the issues that concern me. I am talking about this low-level prejudice (those xyz lack culture, they are all drunks, all your list and a number of other things). There may be (I hope it is not yet so in Ukraine, at least not in the mainstream, but I am pessimistic) this division between “us” and “those suspicious not us” within the country.
                I actually performed a little thought experiment… suppose I happen to be in Estonia when Russia attacks. Let’s say I decide (or am drafted) to serve my country. I will have certain mistrust towards my fellow soldiers, as I know for sure that at least some of them do not believe, deep in their hearts, that I am “one of us”. I am not paranoid enough to suspect that these beliefs on their part will result in me being shot in the back, just in case. I do not want to take it that far. But if some unexplainable bad shit happens – and it always happens during the war – I will be among the prime suspects. I also may be treated as “more expendable”, as long as I am not “one of us” and do not fully belong to the group that is officially prioritized by the state, and in the minds of these people. (As in – “there is less than a million of Estonians, we need to protect them/us first”.) This will not make me switch sides, but this mutual mistrust would obviously be bad for my unit…


        2. \ Putin’s plan was obviously to build a land bridge to Crimea called Novorossija

          But not take Donbass? Just today I read a post in Russian (link below) saying that [google translate]

          // Curators from the Kremlin in the Ukrainian Donbass initially planned to destroy the economy in the areas controlled by the Russian Federation. This was announced on September 10 by the former “Defense Minister of the DNR” Igor Girkin (Strelkov) on the Internet channel “Roy TV”.


          1. Girkin is upset that the Kremlin fired him from the DNR job so now he’s some sort of an anti-Putin dissident. It’s super funny.

            Donbass is part of the “Novorossiya” for the Russians. It’s all of Ukraine up to the Dnieper.


              1. Only if it came as part of the package. The Donbass itself is worthless. It only has value as a land bridge to the Eastern Ukraine up to the Dnieper. But as we have seen, once it became clear that this wasn’t happening, Putin repudiated the Donbass. I don’t know how you feel about the Donbass, but to me it was always the most useless area imaginable. I don’t wish its inhabitants any ill but God, they are useless.


  2. It’s barely made the U.S. news media (I think I saw one article on one of the news websites I check daily) that Trump has approved the sale of offensive weapons to the Ukraine, a major change from Obama’s benign hands-off policy toward that conflict.


    1. It’s absolutely true that so far Trump has been good for Ukraine and bad for Russia. I feared the worst for Ukraine when he was elected but none of it came true so far. It’s a great relief.


  3. \ Russians who were so into Russia all left a long time ago. Why would they stay in a much poorer Ukraine?

    Because Russia, unlike Israel to Jews, isn’t giving out citizenships to ethnic Russians from other countries?

    My father was ethnic Russian, yet I would have no hope of Russian citizenship; the only possibility would be to be an illegal workers. No thanks.


    1. Two of my cousins and an aunt moved to Russia permanently, it seems. This is particularly funny given that these are the only cousins who grew up speaking no Russian and I sometimes had trouble understanding them when we played together.


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