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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, Dec. 18


Improve your English and knowledge of British culture during todays FORM lesson at the British Book Center. These free English lessons with a native speaker elaborate not only on grammar particulars but cultural topics as well. Todays event will discuss the BBC Two documentary Victorian Farm Christmas.



Friday, Dec. 19


Test your mastery of parlor games during Game Evening at the British Book Center. Learn how to play a variety of classic, mentally challenging games and use your newly acquired skills to crush weaker opponents. The event beings at 5 p.m.



Saturday, Dec. 20


The citys Babushkina Park on Prospekt Obukhovskoy Oborony will be invaded by dozens of rocking-and-rolling Santa Clauses during todays Santa Claus Parade. Not only will they parade through the park but there will also be competitions amongst the festively-clad participants and a musical master class. There will also be a prize for the best-dressed Santa Claus.


Stock up your record collection during the Vinyl Christmas Sale at the KL10TCH bar on Konyushennaya ploschad today. Spend the afternoon perusing the records for sale while listening the classic, clean sound of records spinning out hits from a variety of musical genres and time periods.



Sunday, Dec. 21


TheZenit St. Petersburg basketball team returns to the northern capital this evening for a matchup with Krasny Oktyabr, a Volgograd-based basketball club. Tickets for the game, which tips off at 6 p.m. this evening, can be purchased on the clubs website or at their arena, Sibur Arena, on Krestovsky island.


Satisfy your sugar cravings during Sweet New Year, an ongoing seasonal festival at the Raduga shopping center. Each weekend of December will welcome hungry visitors to taste hundreds of different kinds of desserts made from a plethora of sweet treats. Workshops are open to visitors and seasonal gifts can also be purchased for those rushing to finish their New Year shopping.



Monday, Dec. 22


Pick out the latest fashions as holiday gifts for loved ones or as early presents for yourself during the Christmas Design Sale at Kraft on Obvodny Kanal, starting on Dec. 20 and continuing through Dec. 27. Designer clothes will be on sale every day of the week or you can buy something more festive to decorate the home while sipping on hot coffee and perusing the various master classes.



Tuesday, Dec. 23


Meet Arctic explorers Fedor Konukhov and Viktor Simonov during SPIBAs and Capital Legal Services event Arctic Expedition this morning in the Mertens House business center at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. The meeting will discuss the explorers ongoing eco-social project and how companies can use the project as a unique marketing opportunity. Email office@spiba.ru by Dec. 22 if you wish to attend.



To have your event included in All About Town, email tot@sptimes.ru



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