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Feature Story April 20, 2007
Russian Protests: The Deleted Scenes
By Mark Ames Browse author Email

The eXile had planned to provide on-the-ground coverage of last weekend's protests in a way that no other news outlet could or would. Part of our plan was to do a kind of Whore-R stories of a few protesters -- Protest-R stories, if you will -- to find out who these democracy heroes really were: what they ate, how they talked, which part of town they lived in, where they shopped, what their favorite sex position was, what idiotic bands they listened to, etc. What we wanted to know was, what sort of Russian is actually willing to risk his future, and perhaps life and limb, in order to follow not Gandhi, not Vaclav Havel or even the poisoned Viktor Yuschenko of 2004, but rather... Gary Kasparov, an eccentric Jewish chess player from Azerbaijan? More to the point: did Kasparov even have any followers outside of the Western press corps? Or was it all smoke and mirrors, involving the use of a lot of borrowed National Bolsheviks, paid students, and the usual collection of crusty perestroika protesters? Given the degree of Putin's popularity, and the bad stench associated with so-called "liberal" or "pro-Western" values after Yeltsin's disastrous rule, it was hard to believe that the protest movement was really a threat. Or that it was even real.

What last Saturday's protests in Moscow revealed was that the larger story is far more interesting and complex than we'd expected. There was too much adrenaline and urgency, too much of a sense of an intangible shift taking place. If we'd reduced it all to the mundane lives of a couple of Saturday's protesters, it wouldn't have been funny, and more importantly, it wouldn't have revealed anything. What's happening is potentially too serious. It is potentially the early seed of something very profound -- and, that is why it is a genuine threat to Putin's regime.

G8 Protest Control Strategies that WORK

Russia can still be a little clumsy and timid when it comes to protest control, but with a little practice, the Kremlin should soon be able to crush tiresome street protest with the best of the world's leading industrialized democracies. Here's a look back at some recent G8 crowd control methods that the Kremlin might consider borrowing.

1) Los Angeles Democratic Presidential Convention, 2000: CALL FAKE BOMB THREAT

What to do when independent media extremists have set up a counter broadcast with a potential web and satellite audience of 14 million? Easy -- say a bomb has been planted on the premises and move in for everyone's safety! In LA, police "responded" to a bomb threat, then barred access to an independent media satellite truck at the time of the scheduled broadcast. A member of the L.A. sheriff's department was even heard bragging that the "[bomb] threat would evaporate as soon as the satellite time elapsed." Once the bomb threat is over, move on to the pepper spray and rubber bullets!

Final Free Speech Tally: Dozens arrested and beaten. Unkown number hit with rubber bullets and bean bags.

2) Seattle WTO Meeting, 1999: HIT 'EM WITH EVERYTHING YOU GOT

When the hippies and the extremists start chanting "The Whole World is Watching", show them you don't give a shit. Use everything you have like nobody is watching: chemical weapons, concussion grenades, rubber bullets, clubs--anything that clears the streets and send the brats back to their smelly safe houses and coffee shops. Arrest the stragglers and make sure they spend at least a few days in prison.

Final Free Speech Tally: 600 arrested, dozens beaten/gassed.


Sometimes you need to send a message by using real bullets against the bastards. When you hit one, run over the body a couple of times for effect. After the protests on the streets die down, send special police to the dwellings of protestors and foreign journalists. Take their computers and beat them unconscious. Force as many as possible into a waiting bus, drive them to a safe house outside city limits and beat them some more while singing old Fascist tunes. Make sure other G8 leaders publicly acknowledge the "difficult job" faced by your brave security forces.

Final Free Speech Tally: One killed, dozens arrested and beaten in police captivity, including native and foreign journalists.

4) Miami Free Trade Area of the Americas summit, 2003: BANG THOSE SHIELDS!

What's the point of having all those metal-armored riot suits if you can't throw a little rhythm behind your heavily armed advancing line? Before you move in with the gas, the grenades, the clubs, and the rubber-bullets, put the fear of God into them by banging your clubs against your plastic shields in time while chanting, "back! back! back!" like some plains Indian tribe in gas masks. Then, once you've gotten close enough, break formation and go Seattle on their skinny unarmed asses! Then, call it the "[Your City Here] Model" and helloooo consulting fees!

Final Free Speech Tally: More than 100 arrested, dozens beaten, including journalists.

5) NYC Republican National Convention, 2004: BAN THOSE BIKES AND PUT 'EM IN A PEN!

A lot of extremists may try to hide behind an "ecological" agenda and protest on bicycles, but don't let these rides get out of hand. Impound the bikes and make sure protesters don't get any funny ideas about gathering near "sensitive historical locations" around the city. If they do, haul them to a remote defunct facility lined with toxic waste and hold as many as you can for as long as you can. Make sure this holding pen is ringed with barbed wire and, whatever you do, don't feed anyone! Hold them until some judge says you have to let them go.

Final Free Speech Tally: 1,800 arrested, dozens beaten, hundreds of bikes impounded.

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The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
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Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
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eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

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Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

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13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
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Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...


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