Why are the Russian authorities afraid of a flash mob Love is stronger than fear?
Flash mob in Moscow, Russia 26.02.12
The rally announced for February 14 by Navalny’s supporters caused&# 160; harsh reaction from the authorities&# 160;
The Investigative Committee, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Prosecutor General’s Office of Russia, together, as if on command, warned fellow citizens about responsibility for participating in unauthorized actions. The statements of the departments did not specify what kind of actions they were talking about, but there is no doubt that they mean the flash mob announced by the headquarters of Alexei Navalny on February 14 «with flashlights».
Earlier, about the intention to hold such an action called «Love is stronger than fear» (The 14th of February – Valentine’s Day), said Navalny’s associate Leonid Volkov. The essence of the idea is that on Sunday at the appointed hour, everyone can go out into their yard, turn on the flashlight on the phone, raise it high up and stand that way for about 15 minutes. It is assumed that the action filmed on video will then be posted on social networks..
In this regard, the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs announced its readiness «ensure law and order and prevent destabilization of the situation in cities and other settlements». The department also recalled that after the recent protests in support of Navalny, 90 criminal cases were opened..
Statements similar in tone and direction were made by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation and the Prosecutor’s Office.
A massive propaganda campaign was also launched in the pro-government media against the action planned by Navalny’s supporters. State Duma deputies, TV presenters and pro-Kremlin political scientists joined in. Those who are going to light the lanterns on their phones on Valentine’s Day have even been compared with «defectors-collaborationists during the siege of Leningrad», accomplices of the fascists.
The official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maria Zakharova did not stand aside, and here she saw «hand of the West». According to her, the United States, NATO and «Brussels structures» everywhere they start preparing revolutions with «unwinding popular symbols». «For all the people who now call themselves oppositionists and call for illegal actions, we see Western curators», – she stressed on the air «Echo of Moscow».
Igor Yakovenko: «I admit that after us “sanitary affairs” there will also be “lamppost”»
Today, any independent initiative and any act of solidarity on the part of civil society is perceived by the authorities as a threat to the foundations, believes sociologist and publicist Igor Yakovenko. In his opinion, everything is natural here.. «The scared crow is afraid of the bush, – he explained in a commentary for the Russian Service «Voices of America». – Therefore, despite the fact that this action, it would seem, did not threaten anyone, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Investigative Committee and the Ministry of Internal Affairs declared in unison that the evening lighting of flashlights near your house was a potential offense, almost a crime. So, I fully admit that after us “sanitary affairs” there will also be “lamppost”».
In fact, this is already paranoia or Orwell in its purest form, noted Igor Yakovenko. According to him, the fact that the inclusion of flashlights, as well as peaceful promenade on the streets, are equated with crimes, of course, testifies to the degradation of the regime.. «And everything is logical here, – he added. – I think if Navalny’s headquarters calls on everyone to lie down on the couch at a certain time, this will also be perceived as a provocation or a crime. It is also possible that, using this action, the security forces will try to establish the places of concentration of the protesters, in order to then carry out a total sweep of the Russian civil society. In the current Russian realities, everything is possible».
The authorities and personally Putin are well aware that the loss of power for them means a long prison term, so they are ready to take the most severe measures for their own protection, Igor Yakovenko summed up.
Leonid Gozman: «The reaction of the authorities, of course, will only heat up interest in the action.»
In turn, opposition politician Leonid Gozman noted that the reaction of the authorities to the upcoming rally of Navalny’s supporters only looks absurd. In his opinion, in fact, in the Kremlin they are afraid quite rightly, because they have grounds for fear.
«The fact is that any confrontation requires feeling “we”, – clarified the interlocutor of the Russian service «Voices of America». – No wonder the plural is always used in old revolutionary songs: “Letting go of the old world…” It is no coincidence that Belarusians went out and are taking to the streets with the slogan «”We will”, we are together». This is important because it is not the only, but a necessary condition for the implementation of radical transformations.».
This feeling naturally arises when you have a wall of riot police in front of you, but then it gradually fades away, says Leonid Gozman. And the authorities, it seems to him, are afraid that the action with flashlights, for all its seeming harmlessness, will contribute to the consolidation of the protest forces and the strengthening of their identity..
«This is the Koscheev needle for them. Plus, the reaction of the authorities, of course, will only heat up interest in the action. When it was just announced, I, frankly, treated it rather ironically. But now I see that I was wrong. Navalny’s headquarters understands what they want and what they are doing. It seems that the position taken by the authorities will bring a lot of people into the courtyards. So there is a silver lining», – he summed up.