39 cops have reportedly been injured at rallies across Russia today. Expect that to be the headline news from the state media. Russian libertarians are about to get a taste of the “BLM is all looters” rhetoric they spewed all summer.
Looting and fighting with cops aren’t the same. Even the average Russian couch potato and television addict can tell the difference. So far no Russian political protesters have been observed looting.
Some of the clashes yesterday could have been the work of provocateurs in the Kremlin’s pay. Others looked like the inevitable response to police behavior, such as attacks on the weak or powerless and random acts of intimidation. If the cops’ tactic is arresting random people in the crowd, often in the most brutal and abusive manner imaginable, even the meekest crowd will eventually hit back.
This doesn’t absolve certain Russian libertarians of a certain bias. Obviously the BLM movement is not all about looting. You can’t wave systemic racism off into irrelevance by merely focusing on ugly scenes from the 2020 riots. Now that some of those Russian libertarians have espoused Trump’s alternative facts and funhouse reality, you may wonder if they are capable of critical thinking at all.