Scratch notes

If you’re still interested in Solzhenitsyn as seen by Russophone intellectuals, here’s, once again, the link to curious discussion. Using the word Russophone, I mean nothing but a parallel to, say, Francophone, without any connotations that the term may have in a Russian discourse. Indeed, some of the participants have long lived in the US, others switch between Russia and their second country. They might even object to being called Russian without qualification.

A few days ago (I think it was Dec. 19), a radical environmentalist group called “Keepers of the Rainbow” picketed the building that houses Putin’s Administration (it’s actually an official body separate, say, from the cabinet), protesting the new Forest Code. The picket was technically illegal, since the protesters had not received permission from the Moscow city government. My guess is that there were more reporters there than the eco guys, but a few minutes after the show started, the protest was brutally suppressed by the Federal Guard Service, responsible for the security of government officials. Brutally indeed: hitting journalists in the face falls under that category. Cameras and recorders were snatched (one lady was reporting live on the radio when they tore the microphone out of her hands), reporters and protesters detained. Apparently, the media people were freed soon enough; the eight detained environmentalists are facing fines for holding an unauthorized gathering.

Sure enough, the greens were asking for it, and probably seeking publicity, but the Guard Service people in black suits and ties behaved like mad gorillas. And it wasn’t the first time. A month and a half ago, one young communist made his way onto the roof of the Duma building, threw the Russian flag down and installed a red one instead. The fact that a stranger managed to get up there unnoticed enraged the Guard Service so much that the poor flag-buster got one punch in the face and two in the belly before being dragged all the way down the stone stairs “like a sack”, his head counting the steps. He got brain concussion as a result. (The man doubts his tormenters were from the Guard Service. The FSB? The Duma’s own security?)

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