The Futile Demonstrations in Russia

As he watched a protest demonstration of perhaps 25,000 Russian citizens dissolve into the chilly Moscow night on December 10, 2011, the New York Times Russia correspondent Michael Schwirtz issued a final tweet from his vantage point on the protest square. Schwirtz wrote: "Police spox said 'no arrests yet, and don't expect any.' He laughed and seemed to be enjoying #10dec," using the Twitter hashtag assigned to the event. Make no mistake: Vladimir Putin, too, was beaming from ear to ear as he looked down from his Kremlin tower upon the assembled throng. He was smiling at major cities like Vladivostok and Kazan, which totally ignored the call to protest, producing anemic groups of a few hundred at most. He was smiling at major cities like Novosibirsk, where a larger group of perhaps two thousand thronged to the streets.  They were all members of the Communist Party, the runner-up in the recent parliamentary elections that saw Putin's party of power, United Russia, take a majority...(Read Full Article)