Sunday, December 14, 2008

Russian Government Violently Suppresses Dissenters March

BOULDER, Colorado -- Video evidence has emerged of the ghastly incident over the weekend at an opposition political conference outside Moscow involving a number of mutilated sheep. This video comes from Oleg Kozlovsky, a leader of the liberal youth movement Defense (Оборона).

According to other sources who were at this event, many of the animals still had needles sticking out of them, clear evidence that they had been drugged in addition to having their legs broken. The sheep were also smeared in shit, and the ones that were still alive were vomiting up blood. The conference participants spent a long time rounding up the live ones and clearing the dead from the road, and it took several hours for the police to arrive after they had been called. When they did show up, they directed more of their attention towards the opposition activists, briefly detaining them and checking their documents, than at the men chucking sheep in the road.

This same source reported that the location of the Solidarity event was a closely-guarded secret, and participants were told to go to the Dynamo metro station, where they would be met by buses to take them to Khimki. Some of the buses were in fact decoys, sent perhaps by political opponents or the security services, that took several dozen people out into the middle of nowhere and dumped them.

It wasn't until today that the English-language press finally picked up on this story. Over the weekend, most papers and wires had been reporting on the Solidarity conference, but they did not mention the detentions or the sheep. After Sunday's Dissenters March in Moscow and St. Petersburg was violently suppressed by police - according to most reports, roughly 90 people were arrested in Moscow and another 60 in St. Petersburg - this detail began to appear in English stories.

The Union of Soviet Officers, a group of retired officers that lobbies for the rights of retired soldiers, tried to organize a rally Sunday in Moscow, but they too were violently dispersed by police, and several were arrested, among them retired generals and admirals. Ten activists from the opposition group We (Мы) were preemptively arrested coming out of a Moscow McDonald's before they could participate in the march. Among those arrested was Roman Dobrokhotov, who had been detained earlier in the week for speaking out during a speech by President Dmitry Medvedev.

The Dissenters March is a political demonstration involving a broad-based coalition of anti-government groups, ranging from moderate established parties like Yabloko to radical groups like the National Bolshevik Party. The first such march was held in Moscow in December 2006, and several others have since been held across Russia. Nearly all of the demonstrations have been brutally suppressed by government security forces.

Here is a translation of the text commentary in the video (thanks to Itchy for finding this):
Provocation against the conference of the opposition political movement Solidarity, December 12, 2008.

Before the beginning of the conference, an unknown person began throwing live sheep onto the road from a bus that had pulled up.

Some of the sheep that were thrown out of the bus died. Inside the bus there was another dead sheep.

The provocateurs hide their faces from the camera, but they don't panic. Obviously, they are confident if their immunity.

Next to the bus are two young men. They don't deny that these are their sheep, but they also hide their faces.

One of the conference participants recognizes the young men.

(Cameraman: Who are those young men?
Participant: They are from the Young Guards [a pro-Kremlin youth group])

The activists from the Young Guards hurry to hide themselves.

Actually, this story is not about sheep.

It is about those, who because of their selfish goals, are ready to do anything.


  1. Give us a break already. The "protesters" were arrested (the ultimate purpose of the event in the first place) because they had no permits nor permission to hold an event where they wanted. In fact, the event organizers said that they were going to purposely ignore all laws and requirements .

    These people are publicity hounds and are so irrelevant that any mention of them is amazing.

    These events have almost become performance art for they have no bearing on the lives of ANY Russians. It's a self-congratulatory small groups of so-called protesters, like Oleg Kozlovsky, and their so-called Western supporters.

    Don't waste your time on these dilettantes.

  2. evidently, posting comments to quell dissent works the same in any country. popular american websites are riddled with "timothy posts" everywhere.

  3. Timothy, you either don't know the situation or are lying. The action was banned ILLEGALLY: the government said that another application had been sent for the same time and place by different people, which is impossible since the organizers of the March gave their application at the very first minute when it was legally possible. The truth is that in Moscow, you can't organize ANY large protest rally. They will always find a reason to ban it (or simply ban without any reasons). So everything you're telling about "permits" is total bullshit.

    And of course, few Russian citizens learn about such actions because state-controlled TV (i.e. all nationwide channels) is heavily censored and never mention any protest rallies in the country. However, this doesn't mean that this March is insignificant. Otherwise the government wouldn't bring thousands of riot police and army to stop it.

  4. Sorry I haven't posted a reply until now - doing a bit of site maintenance. But I wanted to say I really appreciate the comments. Thanks, Anonymous and Weglar - I also have little tolerance for apologists for the Kremlin regime (which should have been obvious from the post). I will take a little pride that our site has been the target of Russian nationalists who scour the internet looking for anything critical of Russia, then flooding the comments sections. Perhaps this means we've made it to the big time. And Weglar makes an excellent point - you can't make arguments about the "letter of the law" when it is capriciously and arbitrarily enforced. Nothing is beneath the Russian security services - phony permits, agent-provocateurs, and maiming farm animals.