5 questions about what happened in Washington on January 6

CBC News: The National Special Edition | U.S. Capitol Under Siege | Jan. 6, 2021

Journalist Sergei Parkhomenko, media expert Vasily Gatov and lawyer Ekaterina Mishina answer popular questions about the storming of the Capitol and its consequences

Why videos and photos from the captured Capitol made such a strong impression on the entire world audience?

Sergey Parkhomenko, journalist:

Because this place makes an incredibly strong impression on everyone. It’s as if in Russia, well, I don’t know, the Lenin Mausoleum was turned upside down. This is a very symbolic thing. Actually, this is how it happened in 1993, when the place of power was occupied. But it was “fresh”, and the Capitol is a historical thing, it has existed for centuries. There is a lot of symbolism in it, and it was difficult to look at it. Although it is clear that the physical damage to the Capitol is not very significant.

Is this the first time in the history of the United States that the Capitol building has been taken over by the citizens of the country? And can the incident be called an attempted coup?

Ekaterina Mishina, lawyer, expert on constitutional law:

Yes, the first one. This is unprecedented. There was a case when in 1814 soldiers of the British army broke into the Capitol building. They set fire to several key rooms. Then, in 1954, Puerto Rican nationalists broke into the Capitol building. They opened fire on members of the House of Representatives – five were injured. But these were always representatives of other states. So that citizens went to storm the highest legislative body – this has never happened before..

To call the incident an attempt at a coup d’etat, I consider it to be an exaggeration. Still, a coup d’etat is an attempt to come to power individually or collectively. What happened on January 6 in Washington can be called mass riots provoked and long fueled by the head of state..

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5 questions about what happened in Washington on January 6

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Why it is incorrect to compare the events in the USA with the protests in Belarus?

Sergey Parkhomenko, journalist:

These situations, on the one hand, are parallel, and on the other hand, they are mirrored. They are parallel in that the current head of state categorically refuses to recognize the results of real (I emphasize, real) elections and refuses to leave his seat after he lost in these elections. And it is mirrored in that in one situation (in the United States) the entire state system of separation of powers – primarily the judicial one – stands up to defend the elections and to find out the truth about what actually happened with the elections. And in another case – Belarusian – the entire absent system of separation of powers and the absent judiciary rises to the defense of the current president, absolutely denying the real situation and refusing to consider and study it.

In addition, if we talk about falsification of elections, then in the USA we do not see any real evidence, and in Belarus there is a huge number of them, there are specific people who falsified the elections. But the difference is that the leadership of Belarus seems to close its eyes and say: “These people are not there, we do not see them, there are no ballots with ticks placed with one hand – there is nothing”. Although all there are specific people who say: “I did it!”

Will Trump’s political career end there??

Ekaterina Mishina, lawyer, expert on constitutional law:

I consider what happened on January 6 the end of Trump’s political career, he signed his bankruptcy as a politician in a state based on the principles of democracy. But he may well go on a “tour” somewhere in the post-Soviet space, where rude authoritarian leaders are appreciated.

Vasily Gatov, media analyst

One can agree with this, but with a grain of irony. Even in the worst case for Trump – if his cabinet mutiny and he is removed using the 25th Amendment, or they try to start impeachment – as a factor in American politics, he will make itself felt for a while. Until, among the same populists, but with more systematic views, a new leader is not selected for this cult. If Trump personally put an end to his career, then Trumpism as an ideology will have an impact on what is happening in the country for a long time..

What will happen if a “Russian trace” is found in what happened?

Vasily Gatov, media analyst:

I would really hate to see something like that found out. In this case, the consequences will be very grave from all points of view. This will be perceived as the most severe insult. If, God forbid, an SVR operative hopes to steal passwords from computers somewhere else, the consequences can be very serious. Sanctions will not be enough here – the most stringent diplomatic measures will be taken. But I repeat – I really don’t want this..

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  • Ksenia Turkova

    Journalist, TV and radio host, philologist. She started as a correspondent and presenter on NTV under the leadership of Evgeny Kiselev, worked on TV6, TVS, REN TV, radio stations "Echo of Moscow", "City FM", "Kommersant FM". From 2013 to 2017 she lived and worked in Kiev, participated in the creation of an information radio station "Radio Vesti", directed the Russian-language broadcasting of the Ukrainian channel Hromadske TV, was a host and executive producer. Since 2017 works for "Voice of America" in Washington.

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