I don’t recall Moscow protesters looting stores


August 14, 2014 by AK

Julia Ioffe expects Russian propagandists to capitalize on the excessive force that cops have used against protesters in Ferguson, MO.

The arrests of two reporters and an alderman will certainly gladden the cynical hearts of Kremlinophiles. But there’s one big difference between the protesters in Missouri and in Moscow/Kyiv. There was no looting and very limited vandalism not only on the Maidan but even during the xenophobic soccer fans’ 2010 protests on Manezhnaya square – to say nothing of the more recent Bolotnaya rallies.

The anti-immigrant, xenophobic rioting in Biryulevo in 2013 did result in a retail complex and a vegetable warehouse getting seriously damaged, but the mob was motivated by anger or hatred rather than greed, and the incident was not advertised as an act of “protest” by Russian media, except its ethnonationalist fringe.

Using rubber bullets on protesters may have been a horrible idea but after three nights of looting, the cops may have grown desperate. A backdrop of violence can make all the difference.


  1. Erik M. says:

    I don’t think it’s fair to imply that the protesters in Ferguson are motivated by greed. From the coverage I’ve read, it seems that nearly all of them are motivated by outrage at the killing of Michael Brown. Most of the violence seems to be coming from the police. The tweets I’ve copied below (from one of the journalists arrested, about what he saw after his arrest) strike me as every bit as horrifying as the Sergei Magnitsky story. In general it seems like one could support protesters in Moscow and Kyiv, and oppose the Russian government and government-friendly media, without trying to defend the actions of the police in Ferguson.

    Wesley Lowery ✔ @WesleyLowery
    Was waiting to be taken away, large black man SCREAMING for help in back of police truck
    7:44 PM – 13 Aug 2014

    Wesley Lowery ✔ @WesleyLowery
    They refused his several calls for paramedics
    7:44 PM – 13 Aug 2014

    Wesley Lowery ✔ @WesleyLowery
    “I’m dying. I’m dying. Please call help he screamed.” They mocked him
    7:45 PM – 13 Aug 2014

    • AK says:

      Erik, I’m not questioning the Ferguson protesters’ motives but I believe the looters there were motivated by greed. I doubt that many people belonged to both groups: the mayor has even claimed that the looters were mostly out-of-town. But the trashed and burned-out stores provided a striking backdrop to the protests that resumed after the first night of mayhem.

      Magnitsky’s case was more than sadistic prison guards beating an inmate to death. Magnitsky had been tortured by a system manipulated by his persecutors for months. He was denied medical treatment from the start of his confinement. His death was the saddest but not the first act.

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