“American Cauldron”: The Verdict of January 31st’s Unsanctioned Navalnyist Rallies

It is not yet clear what the opposition will name for history the bunch of rallies of the past week, which simultaneously demonstrated a multiple drop in the number, dynamics and involvement. As for me, “American Cauldron” would fit perfectly, you can even give out awards.

Let’s start with the number. Or rather, it’s absence. If the American and European curators of Navalny plan to seize the Russian Far East with the forces that we saw today, then alas. In the 90s, the wine and vodka store near my house was stormed by more people than we saw today in Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Chita and Yakutsk combined. And I must say in the 90s, the people acted much more fiercely.

Even Moscow and St. Petersburg, which were the main focus of the protest, failed a little more than completely. We all understand that the Three Train Stations area was chosen only so that the protesters would mix with the crowds of passengers, in order to present it in the report as a raging sea of people. What is a few thousand for a 20-million-strong Moscow? There is nothing to say about St. Petersburg.

The most revealing moment for me personally was the behavior of the organisers. Despair in the eyes, futile attempts to organise arm linking, and a mass run of hatchlings in all directions for any reason, even if the OMON officer drops his baton. Exactly the same misunderstanding of what was happening flashed in the eyes of even the most ideological supporters. They went to feel their involvement in epoch-making events, and ended up laundering $2 million for Navalny from curators from the US. The moral background of the protests has also suffered considerably due to the lack of popular support as such. You can prove to yourself as much as you want that cars honk with joy until you hear the driver’s bad language.

The first thing we all saw today is the highly professional work of the police and National Guard, even despite multiple provocations. The protesters rushing through the streets and alleys, trying to follow the hysterical commands on social networks, looked like Pechenegs fleeing from the soldiers of Yaroslav the Wise. In the end, Volkov, who had sent the people to the Matrosskaya Tishina, was accused of setting them up, because the crowd was locked up there and scattered into the police vans.

And the second and most important conclusion from today’s protests is that Navalny has finally been denied popular support. People never forgave or forgot: no betrayal in favour of the US, nor the involvement of children in the protest, nor the next “investigation” that has completely turned out to be crap, nor luxurious holidays for donations 6 times a year. The last straw was the request to the US to impose further sanctions.

And now the logical consequence of all this is to ban the activities of the Anti-corruption Foundation in Russia. And the initiation of a criminal case against Navalny under the 275 Criminal Code of the Russian Federation “State treason”. Period.

Sergey Kolyasnikov

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