The Boris Nemtsov memorial march, which has recently ended in Moscow, was impressively attended. Despite the short notice and the bleak weather, an unbelievably large number of people took part. It’s only my feeling at this point but estimates are already being released from various quarters.
Two and a half members of the “means, motive, opportunity” triad point at the Kremlin as the most likely culprit, although none indicates which of its towers could be at fault, nor what agents were employed, such as nationalists, pretend liberals, jilted lovers or renegade Ukrainians.
One question I’m asking myself is what news is going to be shifted to the background in the meantime. A surprise offensive on Mariupol or Kharkiv? Savchenko’s slipping into a coma, God forbid? The Kremlin dragnet has just hauled in fresh catch: Rada deputy Olexiy Goncharenko was detained at the Moscow march today and could face charges related to the fire at the Odessa Trade Union building in May 2014.
Another question is whether Russia has finally added the missing crucial component for classical definitions of fascism to apply, which is paramilitary violence ostensibly originating “from below”. For example, Michael Mann defines fascism as “the pursuit of a transcendent and cleansing nation-statism through paramilitarism.” See Chapter 1 (pdf) of Mann’s Fascists for a discussion of other definitions. Normally, paramilitaries appeared early on during the fascist ascendancy. That’s the wave Mussolini et al. rode to power; the Russian regime is conjuring up a tsunami in order to stay in existence.