Russian pundit sees pro-Putin rallies as sign of "authoritarian regime"

Friday, Mar 02,2012, 7:42:39 PM

There is no 'for' in democracies

Rallies against protesters are a sure sign of authoritarian regimes.

Among the many indicators by which democracy differs from authoritarianism, there is one simple one. In a democracy, demonstrations are always against. Against the policy of the ruling power. Demonstrations for the policy of the ruling authorities and against protesters simply do not happen in democracies.

But in authoritarianism, demonstrations are always "for."

This is a universal rule. Let us take Occupy Wall Street, for example. Far from all Americans share its goals and ideals. Otherwise, the President of the US would be an unemployed communist, convinced of the fact that the accursed oil corporations are stifling patents for sources of renewable energy and starting wars throughout the world.

But somehow, we do not see any demonstrations against Occupy Wall Street. The fat-cats from that same Wall Street are not raising anyone up for the "struggle against the orange revolution." Why? Well, the protestors, who pound their chests and shout that they are the 99 per cent, will come to the polls on election day -and then we will see whether they are the 99 per cent or not.

Or, say, the protests in Greece. On 5 May 2011, right after the government of George Papandreou cut state expenditures of the bankrupt country, at least 100,000 people turned out on the streets of Athens. They stormed the parliament building and burned down a bank: People died, including a pregnant woman.

We must say that far from all Greeks approve of the demonstrators. The absolute majority of protesters are state employees - petty and very petty officials, who have led the country into debt, who showed up to work for an hour a day, who extorted bribes, and who performed obviously meaningless work. In Greece, there are many state employees -but they are not the majority. Taxi drivers, store owners -all of them simply hate these people, who are drowning the country, along with themselves, out of purely selfish interests. However, we do not see any demonstrations for the policy of the ruling authorities. Why? After all, they are ruling.

Similar demonstrations are going on also in Spain. The first of them were timed to coincide with the local and regional elections of 22 May 2011, and took place in 58 cities. Altogether, up to 8 million people were involved in the protest action. The idea is the same: We are not represented in power, we are offended at world capitalism.

For some reason, there was no demonstration anywhere in Spain in favour of the authorities and against the protesters who staged the orange revolution. You are protesting? Well, go right ahead. You are going out into the street, but we are going to the polls.

The fourth example: Saakashvili's Georgia. Last summer, there were rallies there, organized by Nino Burdzhanadze, and these rallies were approximately of the same nature as rounding up the small-fry to Poklonnaya Gora. Ms Burdzhanadze's popularity in Georgia fell within the statistical margin of error even before the MVD [Ministry of Internal Affairs] published her conversations with her son, from which it was learned that Burdzhanadze had hoped for bloodshed and intervention of the Russian army. But Saakashvili in Georgia is, on the contrary, really popular. Then why is it that Saakashvili -both after this comical rally, and after the much more serious ones that preceded it -did not round up hundreds of thousands and millions in his own support?

The answer: Why? There are elections, and they are real. Vote. In a democracy, there are never rallies for the ruling authorities. They are only against.

In 1968, Paris was covered in barricades. Perhaps many were against the riots -but no one turned out to demonstrate for the authorities and against the orange students.

In the 1970's, "proponents of disarmament" r egularly marched through London and Paris. Probably not all Europeans believed that Europe should disarm before the tanks of a totalitarian power that stood at its borders, 90 per cent of whose industry worked for war. But there were no marches for armament, in support of the current government policy. Why? You are against the incumbent authorities, you go and knock yourselves out.

But authoritarian countries are a different matter. There, the many-thousand man demonstrations are always for the incumbent authorities and against its enemies (the infidels, the Jews, the Americans, the orange threat). There, hundreds of thousands and millions gather in support of Hitler and Stalin, Turkmenbashi and Saddam Hussein, Muammar Khadafi and Bashir al-Asad.

Once again: In a democracy, people turn out for demonstrations only against the ruling authorities. This is the natural human state: Well yes, let us suppose, reasons the average statistical Georgian, "the opposition has turned people out against Saakashvili, dirtied Rustaveli Prospekt, is closing off the road to the airport for me and running over people (it is generally surprising that the opposition in Georgia behaves like the authorities do in Russia), and I do not want Russian puppets to come to power on Russian bayonets, and for there to once again be bribes and lawlessness in Georgia. But why should I turn out on the protest square if Saakashvili is already in power?"

For the sake of fairness: We have also had rallies against. As in a real democracy. But then, the people turned out en mass for. By trainloads and busses. As they had in support of Muammar Khadafi and Saddam Hussein. And in this combination, in my opinion, is the essence of our entire present-day regime.

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