I happened to catch part of an NPR live broadcast from Moscow yesterday, something about demonstrations and the arrest of a prominent opposition figure. The tone of the report could be characterized as breathless- helicopters circling, busloads of riot police, impending violence- as if expecting a sudden outbreak of 'freedom'.
It just struck me as odd. Why was NPR all of a sudden all over another Russia 'thing'? After some sleuthing around the picture became a little clearer.
Yesterday, June 12th was a public holiday celebrating modern Russia’s break with Soviet Communism in 1991, so there were several hundred thousand people out to celebrate.
Alexey Navalny, another in a long line of right-wing nationalists (kind of like some of our politicians) and supposedly not that popular in Russia, was the opposition arrestee. It seems he had a rally scheduled on the very same national holiday, maybe figuring to take advantage of all the people about and pretending they were his supporters, but he didn't like his approved 'venue' claiming that the sound system or something didn't work. So at the last minute he decided to move his show over to a major avenue where all the holiday action was taking place. This didn't sit well with the police, so they arrested his ass.
So, no violence to speak of, some arrests, and many people enjoying a day off (except for Navalny and his supporters), watching parades, maybe even being free.
-- db desgnr
A link to an Irish journalist's take on this which of course may be more propaganda since its published in Russia Today: