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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

Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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