Savage beatings for pro-democracy, anti-Putin protesters in Russia

Russian democracy: protest Putin stealing your election, get the living shit beaten out of you by thugs. Meet the new boss, (literally) the same as the old boss. Check out the related videos at the end. There's hundreds of these clips.

06.05.2012 Марш миллионов. Москва. Беспорядки. (via Reddit)


  1. This is extremely troublesome – with our elections coming up in November, this sort of dissent won’t get the attention it deserves until things come to a head.  And in Russia, when things “come to a head,” that generally means “go totally apeshit.”  I can’t recall the last time reporting put The Question to worldwide leaders in a straightforward manner, but it’d be nice to see President Obama and Mitt Romney get braced with “as a politician working in a democratic government, how could these violent suppressions of freedom in Russia affect your foreign policy?”

    *sigh* I know, I know, might as well wish for the moon.

    1. It’s so wonderful the see both Russia and the USA unite together in beating down their own filthy citizens who value democracy.  I wonder if they trade tips?

  2. At least one protester apparently didn’t go down quietly: the helmetless cop who goes crazy at 0:13 seems to have been hit in the head.

    Given that Putin’s secret sauce is a heady mixture of nationalism/chauvinism, big business, organized crime and old-style Soviet apparatchik-dom, refined by his past and present ties to the secret police, the outlook for democracy in Russia does not look good. The beatings will continue.

  3. Seems like “Savage beatings of pro-democracy, anti-Putin protesters in Russia” would be more accurate. Better yet “Pro-democracy, anti-Putin protesters savagely beaten in Russia” is four characters shorter , makes sense , and even has a verb that makes it a sentence.

  4. Ah, so this is what happens once the KGB police state takes over Russia.  Looks so much like home…

  5. Dear commenters,

    Are we so self-obsessed that we can’t comment on a post about protesters being beaten in Russia without immediately trying to turn the subject to the US? 

    1. Depends? Is the post at risk of being a Russia-bashing post, as in oh my god, look at those awful Russian oligarchs, doing things that are so evil nobody else would do them? I didn’t post the link I did to derail the conversation, I did it to point out that at this point in time, more governments are using abusive police tactics against left-wing voters and demonstrators than are not doing so.

      Yes, what Putin has done to Russian democracy is really hideous. And what the grand council of Ayatollahs did to Iranian democracy was hideous. And what ALEC and the Roberts court are doing to American democracy is hideous. And what Deutche Bank is doing to democracy in Greece is hideous.  Before that, when Stephen Harper prorogued the Canadian parliament to avoid a no-confidence vote, it was hideous. Face it: this isn’t about Putin, or about Russia. It’s about the fact that authoritarian oligarchical political parties, all over the world right now, feel entirely justified in preventing anti-authoritarian, anti-oligarchy parties from coming to power by any means necessary, including violence and subversion of the right to vote, and they have no visible fear of getting caught at this.

      Yes, it’s happening in Russia, too. Thank you for pointing that out again. I just think that a broader context is useful.

      1. Is the post at risk of being a Russia-bashing post, as in oh my god, look at those awful Russian oligarchs, doing things that are so evil nobody else would do them?

        This isn’t about Russian oligarchs. many of whom are being persecuted by Putin.

        I just think that a broader context is useful.

        Jumping immediately to, “What about the US?” isn’t context, it’s just derailing. This comment thread contains almost no mention of, let alone empathy for these protesters.

        1. I have all the empathy in the world for the protesters.

          But for the love of all holy gods, what did they think was going to happen?

          Boris Yeltsin got away with standing on that tank back in 1991 for a whole lot of reasons: the chain of command got tangled up during the coup against Gorbachev, the Russian army’s strength and morale were at their lowest ebb because they just got beaten by us and the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Russian economy was in total collapse, and Yeltsin was, himself, a fairly high ranking Communist official. None of those reasons currently apply. Not are they no longer at war abroad, they’ve even mostly wound down the Chechnya conflict. They’re a wealthy petro state now, which papers over a lot of problems. The chain of command is completely unambiguous and united in favor of Putinist autocracy, to the point where Stalin is having a propaganda comeback.

          You know what happens when you protest a rigged election under those circumstances? “The same thing that happens any time people without guns go up against people with guns, I expect.”

          Sure I wish they would win. I wish that a lot of anti-autocracy, anti-oligarchy, anti-cronyism, anti-authoritarian protesters around the world were taking power instead of getting their heads bashed in by obedient cops. But given how many places are worse, including my own country, I’m facing serious outrage fatigue when trying to give a rat’s hindquarters about oddly professional pro-dictator cops inflicting so few serious injuries and so few personal indignities; I almost wish we had it so good.

          1. But for the love of all holy gods, what did they think was going to happen?

            They know perfectly well what’s going to happen. They’re exhibiting a quality called ‘courage’.

  6. And, okay, I watched the video again. Fine.

    By today’s international standards in policing? That was polite and professional. Notice, for example, the distinct shortage of kicking people when they’re down. Not one cop was shown trying to provoke a riot by sexually assault. Not one person got curb-stomped. When their barricades were moved, when they were being attacked by people swinging flagpoles at them, they didn’t respond with bean bag shotgun rounds or flash-bang grenades, heck, they didn’t even use pepper spray or tasers!

    Hell, they didn’t even use pain compliance techniques on the passive resisters who’ve gone limp, they’re still using the humane, old-fashioned technique of picking them up and carrying them instead of torturing them into moving under their own power, as is now both legal and commonplace here in the good ol’ USA. I wish our cops were still doing that!

    So, yeah. Putin stole the election. No shock, he stole the last one, too. And the real outrage isn’t that his riot police are preventing demonstrations against it, the real outrage is that the courts are entirely suppine over stolen elections and that nobody in his party has been brought to justice over all of the anti-Putin reporters who’ve been mysteriously disappeared or out-right murdered.

    So I honestly don’t see what the outrage about this video is. What did you THINK the anti-riot cops were going to do? Look at the angry crowd and collectively go, “You know what,  you’re right, we shouldn’t be protecting the guy who rigged the election from you, come on in”? Once they decided to obey orders and enforce their barricades, what different tactics would you have preferred they use?

    1. Fuck the police, but yeah you’re right. About the “worst” I saw was a cop who got a good kidney shot in, and of course the bloody headed pig who lost his shit for a few seconds and went charging off like an idiot but he doesn’t count (bloodied cops always get a free pass). By my standards this video is relatively tame, it’s definitely comparable to anything you would expect from a “Western” nation. Which isn’t to say this is acceptable law enforcement… just that it’s within the bounds of normative political violence for a “free country”. 

    2. Thing is, in Russia this happens within hours of the start of pretty much every non Putin-approved political gathering. That’s not the case in the developed world. Does some other bad stuff happen elsewhere? Sure, but let’s not make false equivalencies. Going to a protest in Russia is obviously not as dangerous as going to one in North Korea (or even China), but it is a hell of a lot more dangerous than going to one in the West.

    3.  The thing is that the election was not rigged (much) because it didn’t need to be rigged at all. The votes matched the polls, of which there were many. Putin was nearly 4x ahead of his nearest challenger, who was running on the Communist ticket. Turnout was high.

      The OSCE allegations are penny-ante stuff, mostly par for the course in the US. Busing workers to the polls?  No real competition? Hard to get on the ballot? Media bias? All common in the US. Even the wildest unsupported claims are that Putin’s count was inflated by 10%, which means he would have gotten only 54%, with the rest split four ways.

      No, this story is being sold to the western public in an attempt to paint Putin as illegitimate and without public support, when nothing could be further from the truth. The OSCE is, like Freedom House and the NED, a front for the kinder, gentler new psy-ops types who ran the color revolutions – the replacements of the old-style coup engineers in the CIA . The real problems in Russia are oligarchy, corruption, organized crime, and lawlessness at all levels, especially the top. Putin is far from an angel, but if he were much better than he is, he’d be toast.

      Read,_2012 for a more balanced take on the election.

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