Did you hear about Moscow’s Occupy Wall Street-esque three-month old opposition movement? Even as Manhattan’s OWS movement’s recent attempts to revive itself have been diligently shut down by the NYPD, Moscow’s pro-democracy, anti-Putin protest movement is waning in the wake of Vladimir Putin’s re-election as president on Sunday, March 4, 2012, with an overwhelming 63.7 percent of the vote.
In February, rally participants joined hands in a nine-mile ring around the center of Moscow and stood for more than an hour just smiling. Video clips of electoral violations flooded the Web in December. An all-female punk band climbed onto the altar of Moscow’s main Orthodox cathedral playing a song called “Holy Mother, Blessed Virgin, Drive Putin Out.” Protestors considered the movement a “battle against tyrants.”
Putin’s victory, however, has forced demonstrators to realize their opposition movement failed to extend its reach outside the capital and one poll monitor confessed disappointment at finding few electoral violations during the polling. Mr. Akunin, a famous Russian writer with a second home in France, admitted that there was a kind of “hangover” effect, that the initial “euphoria was too strong – it seemed like the triumph of democracy was just five steps away. I understand that democracy is something you must earn. If you get it cheaply, you won’t value it.” Cautious movement leaders warn that the movement will lose steam until it puts forward a new, more realistic agenda or the government makes a “misstep.” Mr. Akunin agreed: “Demonstrations and marches are an emotionally strong thing, but like any emotionally strong thing, they degrade after a while.”
Is the modern protest in the Western world dead? How do you “earn” democracy? See the NY Times article here.