Thursday, December 1, 2011

Boo Birds Redux

Last week I ran this post about Russia's Prime Minister/President-in-Waiting Vladimir Putin being booed at a martial arts match in Moscow.  In Wednesday’s web edition of Foreign Policy, writer Julia Ioffe offered a longish piece on the rumbles of discontent rolling around Russia these days, with some further information about the booing Putin incident.

Kremlin spokespeople quickly took to the air to explain that the 20,000 or so gathered spectators weren't actually booing Putin, but rather the defeated American fighter Jeff Monson who was supposedly exiting the ring off-camera.  But according to Ioffe, in the wake of that explanation, Russians flocked to Monson's Facebook page to comment that, no, they were booing Putin; or as one poster put it: “all whistles were only for Putin and for his party -- they are the greatest thiefs in our history.”  And while the martial arts boo-down was the only one of note aimed at Putin, people speaking in favor of the ruling United Russia party have recently been heckled at a hockey game and rock concert.

It's certainly not a sign that an Arab Spring-style revolt is just around the corner, but it should make it interesting to watch the results of this Sunday's elections for the Russian Duma (their parliament).
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