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Faking Left

Published: August 12, 2005 (Issue # 1095)


It is already obvious that the second half of 2005 will unfold under the banner of bustling faux modernization. And we have only the Kremlins enemies to thank for this wide-ranging imitation.

If the Orange Revolution hadnt happened in Ukraine, the Kremlin would never have set up a way to pass on power to an anointed successor. It would never have set up the youth organization Nashi and would never have started talking about vertical social mobility or handing power over to the next generation. If Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych had won, the wise Kremlin specialists would have floated above an unseen political void, convinced that the main focal point of politics was tallying up the votes just right, the way Central Election Commission head Alexander Veshnyakov does, and that everything else ideas, leaders, strategies and parties was a big waste of time and money.

Now, under the influence of the unexpected popular protests against benefits reform this January, the electoral success of the left in many regions and even the political musings of former Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Kremlin has decided to make a swift move to the left. President Vladimir Putins rhetoric will likely change by early fall. He will talk about justice and the priorities of Russias 140 million citizens. A new crop of buffoonish organizations will be sown, and parties made irrelevant by their previous pointlessness will be thrown into the PR fray, from the Patriots of Russia to the social democrats.

The widely despised Social Development and Health Minister Mikhail Zurabov may fall victim to this leftward shift, along with one or two other federal officials who had long wanted to work in the private sector anyway. Finally and most importantly, the sacred inviolability of the stabilization fund will finally be destroyed. In general, the Kremlin will attempt to demonstrate that it is the countrys only real leftist.

The Putin administration might even try staging a pseudo-revolution in typical Kremlin fashion. For example, Zurabov could leave his post kicking and screaming, dragged out of the ministry after a three-day standoff with Nashis antifascist soccer hooligans.

Naturally, none of this will mean a real change in policy. The Putin regimes goals exclude any real changes, no matter how good, out of principle.

Many big-name Kremlinologists in Russia and elsewhere are tirelessly reproducing the myth that Putin heads a chekist regime of authoritarian modernization that wants to destroy all vestiges of Boris Yeltsins rule, as the few remaining liberals in power try to resist their bloodthirsty schemes. Until this myth is debunked, we will not be able to grasp the logic of Putins actions.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Nov. 27


The Customs and Transportation Committee for AmCham meets this morning at 9 a.m. in their office on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.


Tickets are still available for local KHL team SKA St. Petersburgs showdown with Siberian club Metallurg Novokuznetsk tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Ice Palace outside the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. Tickets can be purchased on the teams website, at the arena box office or in their merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.


Celebrate one of Russian literatures most tragic figures during Blok Days, a two-day celebration of the 134th anniversary of the poets birthday. The tragic tenors work, which led to writer Maxim Gorky to hail him as Russias greatest living poet before his death in 1921, will be recited and meetings and discussions about his contributions to the Silver Age of literature in St. Petersburg will be discussed in the confines of his former residence.



Friday, Nov. 28


Join table game aficionados at the British Book Centers Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test ones intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only mans best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during todays reenactment titled Winter War: How it Was. More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie Black Cat, White Cat, as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of Takoy Festival, a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonights festival finale is Fathers and Sons, a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenevs classic about familial relations.



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