A march in Moscow
Article by: Alya Shandra
Pro-Putin demonstrations in Russia have already been christened “putings” – a hybrid of “Putin” and “meeting”
On September 27, six days after the global Peace March against Russian aggression in Ukraine that took place in 59 cities of 27 countries on International Peace Day, the Kremlin decided to have its take at global actions against Ukraine. The action was organized by the Russian Liberation movement (NOD) under the title “Global ‘AntiMaidan’ action.”
Here the careful reader might stop and wonder who this movement is liberating in Russia, as historically such movements were involved in leading a rebellion against a colonial power or national government, most often as colonized nations rising against an empire. Spare yourself the intrigue: it is not the Chechens and neither residents Siberia with a recently expressed desire for federalization.
The Russian Liberation movement seeks to restore the territorial integrity of Russia within the boundaries of the former USSR, fighting against the USA which “partially occupied and partially annexed, as in the case of the Baltic states” the territory of…the USSR? Russia? … at this point it’s hard to tell, as the liberation movement’s site claims that “there are no ‘Ukrainians’ and no ‘Russians,’ but there is a UNITED RUSSIAN PEOPLE, independent of ethnicity! AND WE WILL BE TOGETHER!”
Under the motto “Motherland, freedom, Putin!” its alleged 161,000 supporters in the 2,272 demonstrations that the site claims to have taken place demanded for Russians to “cease living under the laws of the USA,” showed its support for “Novorossiya” and the policies of Vladimir Putin, and protested against the “Western position” of one of Russia’s few independent media stations, Ekho Moskvy.
Where the need to hold pickets in support of Putin’s policies stems from is unclear, as in August 2014, 84% of Russians supported the current Russian president. Boasting a military-like discipline, the organization has representatives in 260 Russian towns and even headquarters abroad in Canada, Germany, Moldova, Estonia, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Finland.
The 13th all-Russian event of this organization was supposed to take place in a whopping 200 Russian cities and in all of the foreign HQs. We will never find out how many actually took part, but the photos that were available on the organization’s VK named Sevastopol, Magnitogorsk, Samara as sites.
The spotlights were once again on Moscow after the massive demonstration against Russian aggression in Ukraine in Moscow on September 21, organized by the opposition. While on the Peace March on September 21 the authorities noticed only 5,000 participants out of the 20-30,000 that the march’s organizers counted, the AntiMaidan march of September 27 elicited an official count of 20,000 with protest participants noticing only 5,000.
На Поклонной. Пестро здесь pic.twitter.com/kh8gJ66PTI
— Алексей Нарышкин (@AlexNaryshkin) September 27, 2014
Two main topics dominate the placards: fascism is evil and Putin is good. The Kremlin’s relentless stream of propaganda knows no limits in showing the Ukrainian government run by a fascist “junta,” from which Putin must save Russia, and the pro-Russian population in Ukraine. Signs glorifying Putin leave no doubt as to the affiliation of this demonstration – clearly in the NOD spirit. All photos by @AlexNaryshkin.
This pro-Putin demonstration’s purpose was to mourn civilian casualties in Donbas. Paradoxically, on March 3, 2014, another pro-Putin demonstration took place – for the introduction of Russian troops to Ukraine. The participation of the regular Russian army in the war in Donbas, as well as Russian military aid to terrorists fighting under separatist flags, has led to over 3,000 civilian casualties as of September 2014.