(Russian elections follow-up)
By Israel Shamir – December 14, 2011
The Likes Parade
Moscow saw its biggest demo in a decade last Saturday. It was a feel-good peaceful manifestation of youthful Facebook users, and it was already nicknamed the Likes Parade, as the prospective participants had clicked on “like” in response to the call to demonstrate. The predictions were dire: some expected clashes and bloody martyrdom, others hoped for a conquest of the Kremlin and revolution. However things went smoothly. Police were friendly too; riot police were stationed far away near Kremlin gates so as not to annoy the people. The speakers stressed their desire to avoid revolutionary upheaval; there were speakers from diverse groups including nationalists, the far left, liberals and the far right.
The big winners of the elections (the communists of KPRF and Fair Russia) sent some token representatives but stayed away en masse, leaving the ground to small opposition groups. Crowd assessments varied from 30 to 90 thousand; not too many for a city of 15 million inhabitants, but undoubtedly impressive.