Navalny’s Petty Racism

A few weeks back Navalny brought my attention to this lovely song extolling Putin’s achievements by Tolibjon Kurbankhanov, a Tajik singer from Dushanbe.

Navalny exhorts his minions to spread this clip far and wide. The writing between the lines is obvious. His reasons aren’t nice and altruistic, but utterly insidious, playing on xenophobia towards Central Asians. The idea being that hearing a Tajik singing in support of Putin will hurt his standing among “true” Russians. “Liberal fascism” may be met with bemused grins in the US, being the rhetoric of unhinged demagogues like Jonah Goldberg, but in Russia the term accurately describes the emerging alliance between liberal podpindosniki and ethnic nationalists, as best embodied by Navalny.

That said, I’m spreading this clip nonetheless. Not because I support Navalny, nor even because I support Putin, but because I support the idea of Russia as a multi-national federation. And because it really is a very nice song.


  1. Alexander Mercouris says:

    Dear Anatoly,

    I can only repeat my point from a few weeks ago, immediately following the elections, which is that despite the various attempts by various people to raise the profile of the “national issue” in those elections the major swing was not from United Russia to the LPDR, as might have been expected, but from United Russia to the parties of the left. There are no doubt many racists and anti semites in Russia and they get a lot of attention but on the evidence of how people actually vote they simply are not a significant political or electoral force.

    Incidentally, if I might here make a historical point, the one government that Russia has had in its history that was definitely anti semitic and ultra nationalist if not actually racist was the government of the late tsarist era. The result? Far from this making Russians support that government they overwhelmingly rejected it and supported instead a revolutionary and socialist movement that expressly rejected such ideas and which counted a disproportionate number of Jews and people from other nationalities amongst its leaders. I accept that the Russia of today is a very different country from the Russia of that time but the failure of ethnicist and racist movements to gain traction at any time in Russia’s modern history is still striking and strengthens my view that Navalny is on a hiding to nothing.

    • Well sure, some Russians supported “a revolutionary and socialist movement”; many others did not, which is why there was a horrible civil war, Bolshevik terror, and mass emigration in the 1918-21 period.

      Also, I haven’t followed the Navalny phenomenon, but I doubt he’d make this sort of appeal if he didn’t know there was a significant constituency for it. Sitting here in Moscow I can testify to the widespread resentment of “blacks” (= collective term for Caucasians and Central Asians). And two can play at that game – note Putin’s jibe at Boris Akunin’s Georgian origins.

      • Alexander Mercouris says:

        “…many others did not, which is why there was a horrible civil war…”

        That is of course very true, but it is important to remember that many (most?) of the people who opposed the Bolsheviks did not support the tsarist regime or its ideology and many had previously bitterly opposed to it. Again if one looks as I once did long ago for a paper I once wrote at actual election results of the period eg. to the State Duma after 1906, to local dumas and rural zemstva before 1914, to the Constituent Assembly in 1918 and to the various soviets in the period after 1917, what was striking was the total failure of anti semites, ultra nationalists and people of that hue to win votes in significant numbers anywhere where there was a remotely fair or open contest.

        Anyway I don’t want to get drawn too far into a historical discussion because as I said I realise that the Russia of today is such a completely different country from the country that it was then.

        I should also say that I of course accept that many people express resentment towards “blacks” (central Asians and Caucasians) and that one often hears such comments and again there is no doubt that from time to time Russian politicians play to this gallery. I have heard such things said myself and I can remember how for example during the political crisis of 1993 Yeltsin’s supporters sought to play on the fact that the Speaker of the Russian Congress of People’s Deputies, Ruslan Khasbulatov, was a Chechen. However my point is different. I am not saying that such sentiments do not exist. What I am saying is that when it comes to actual voting and to what could be called real political activity such sentiments never seem to cohere into an actual political movement. The result is that though Putin engages in occasional sniping with Akunin he is able to do this whilst heading a government that includes two ethnic Tatars (Nabuillina and Nurgaliyev) without this being held against him or becoming any sort of issue. Other present or former members of the Russian government who are wholly or partly of other nationalities without this drawing much or indeed any comment include the two former Prime Ministers and spy chiefs, Primakov and Fradkov, who are apparently either wholly or partly Jewish, the former economics minister Greff, who is German, and the present foreign minister, Lavrov, who is apparently partly Armenian.

        • Alexander M. – thanks for the clarification. Actually I agree with your overall point that “when it comes to actual voting and to what could be called real political activity such sentiments never seem to cohere into an actual political movement.” That’s certainly been the case so far.

      • You make it sound like liberast maggots like Navalny have real traction amongst Russians. The only traction they have is in the bloody liar hypocrite western media. I am sure that the world will be hearing soon how Putin’s election win is illegitimate because Navalny was not on the ballot. I see no evidence in the opinion polls of swelling support for “nationalist” parties. If there was any sort of swing to the right then Prokorov would be getting more than 2% support. But Putin’s main opponents are Mironov and Zyuganov.

      • @Scowspi: Not being a Putinite, but once again I find myself defending Putin’s jab at Akunin. I do not see this as an ethnic/racist attack in any way. Unlike Navalny’s blog hamsters (one of whom, cober69, wrote, ”не брат ты мне, гнида черножопая”), Putin did not allude to Akunin’s черная жопа, he aspecifically accused Akunin of supporting Gruzia against Russia during 2008 war. In other words, Putin was casting aspersions on Akunin’s patriotism (as a Russian citizen). This is an election year, after all, and accusing somebody of being unpatriotic is an effective political attack: Knowing that Orange Opposition basically supports Saakashvili (although with the exception of Latynina they do not always go around trumpetting that fact), then they are sure to lose votes among the majority “patriotic” Russian citizens who do not care much for Saakashvili and still have not forgiven him for killing Russian peacekeepers. It would come as an eye-opener to these voters (like it did to me) that Akunin took Gruzian side in that war. (So, Putin’s jab was effective.)

  2. Alexander Mercouris says:

    I am brooding about this business of “liberal fascism” and one point I would make is that on this issue the Russian liberals seem in some ways to be behind the curve. This sort of politics is after all pretty widespread elsewhere in the former Soviet bloc. Just think of the nationalist policies identified with people of supposedly liberal views in the Baltic States, the western Ukraine, Georgia, Romania, parts of the former Yugoslavia and the Czech Republic.

    • It’s a sign of desperation. The standard browbeating routine (e.g. Novodvorskaya’s rants) is not getting them anywhere so now they are latching onto the nationalist card. This is a dangerous card that they and their puppet masters in the west were reluctant to use. Who knows what would happen if Russian nationalism really took off. It’s no exaggeration to say that another Fuhrer could arise and all of these liberasts could be rounded up and shot. But the west and their puppets are not happy with centrist politics in Russia since it does not deliver any chances to rape the country. A stillborn nationalist transition would, as they think, enable some puppet regime to be installed if all of the pieces fall into place. I think these people are pathologically deluded. They just can’t accept that Russia is traveling on its own path and is not a banana republic which the US can pull around like a chihuahua on a leash.

      Take a look at these monkeys:

      Perhaps the US thinks it can stage a 1917 redux but as they say, history repeats first as a tragedy and then as a farce.

      • Alexander Mercouris says:

        Dear Kirill,

        I have said this before and elsewhere and I say it again, there is absolutely no chance of another revolution in Russia be it a real revolution like the one that happened in 1917 or a phoney colour revolution.

        Though I would not express it in the same way as you, actually I basically agree with you. I think that someone somewhere, obviously quite possibly Navalny himself, is trying to recook the same formula that Yeltsin used in 1990 and 1991, which is to play against the authorities the part of the great anti corruption Russian nationalist/patriot whilst pursuing in reality a liberal, pro western agenda. I should say that in my opinion Yeltsin’s attempt in 1990 and 1991 to pose as the champion of Russia against the authorities was actually a popular failure as the results of the March 1991 referendum showed and that the reasons he came to power were quite different. Anyway what may or may not have worked in 1990 and 1991 when the Russian electorate was inexperienced and immature is certainly not going to work today when the Russian electorate, which is much more sophisticated than it is generally given credit for being, can easily see through this sort of thing.

        As for Navalny I am beginning to think I may have overestimated him. Obviously it is difficult for someone like me who does not speak Russian and who lives in Britain to get a genuine feel for the ebb and flow of politics in Russia but back in December Navalny seemed to me to be the only liberal figure in Russia who had the charisma and a sufficiently large following to mount a real challenge. Since then however he has notably failed to shine. He has not managed to assert himself as Russia’s liberal leader, indeed I get the impression that many other prominent liberals actually dislike him, and at the rally on 4th February 2012 he was all but invisible and I believe failed to speak. It may be too soon to write him off but I expected more of him and if he is not going to make an impact now in the middle of a protest movement then when is he going to?

    • I guess there may be some “liberal fascists” out there somewhere, but not the kind that Goldberg was talking about. His ridiculous premise is that socialists and fascists are one and the same, in other words there is no difference between a Mussolini, on the one hand, and a Lenin, on the other.
      Again, this is a ridiculous, a-historical argument. People like Mussolini/Hitler represented the interests of the capitalist class (especially big finance capital). I don’t care if they called themselves “socialists”, or what they called themselves, their class basis was completely different from that of real socialists, who are based on trade unions and the labour movement. Real socialists represent the interests of people who don’t have a lot of money, which is why real socialists very rarely come to power, except in extraordinary circumstances.
      BTW, conflating fascism and communism is an old parlor-game performed by bourgeois ideologists who try to “prove” that any system other than liberal free-market capitalism inevitably leads to totalitarian tyrrany. Showing superficial similarities in fascist and communist forms of government (for example, both systems use a secret police, both systems censor the press, etc.) without delving into the basic distinctions of economic foundations, is as silly as trying to “prove” that dolphins are the same as fish, because they have fins and swim in the ocean.
      It is just another commentary on the sad state of American education that an idiot like Goldberg can be considered an “intellectual” within his society.

      • Yalensis, I’m typically a fence-sitter on issues concerning the relationships between various -isms. Here is a more articulate free marketeer’s perspective:

        “[Fascism] There can be no question of its origins. It is tied up with the history of post-World War I Italian politics. In 1922, Benito Mussolini won a democratic election and established fascism as his philosophy. Mussolini had been a member of the socialist party.

        All the biggest and most important players within the fascist movement came from the socialists. It was a threat to the socialists because it was the most appealing political vehicle for the real-world application of the socialist impulse. Socialists crossed over to join the fascists en masse. [….]
        In reviewing the history of the rise of fascism, Flynn wrote:
        “One of the most baffling phenomena of fascism is the almost incredible collaboration between men of the extreme Right and the extreme Left in its creation. The explanation lies at this point. Both Right and Left joined in this urge for regulation. The motives, the arguments, and the forms of expression were different but all drove in the same direction. And this was that the economic system must be controlled in its essential functions and this control must be exercised by the producing groups.”
        [ You mentioned ‘real socielists’. I’m afraid it may have entered the zone of “no true Scotsman” fallacy. ]
        “………It is for all these reasons that fascism takes on a right-wing cast. It doesn’t attack fundamental bourgeois values. It draws on them to garner support for a democratically backed all-round national regimentation of economic control, censorship, cartelization, political intolerance, geographic expansion, executive control, the police State, and militarism.
        For my part, I have no problem referring to the fascist program as a right-wing theory, even if it does fulfill aspects of the left-wing dream. The crucial matter here concerns its appeal to the public and to the demographic groups ………
        … [W]e’ve already seen how a left-wing socialist program can adapt itself and become a right-wing fascist program with very little substantive change other than its marketing program.”


        • Alexander Mercouris says:

          Dear Ivan K.,

          I don’t know who this Llewellyn Rockwell is but his article is full of gross historical errors and is completely unreliable. For example he says that Mussolini won a democratic election and that most fascists had their origins in Italian socialist politics. Both these claims are completely untrue. Mussolini never won a democratic election or even came close to doing so and only seized power as a result of what was effectively a coup (the so called March on Rome) in which he was backed by the King. As for the claim that most fascists had previously been socialists, that is quite simply untrue. Mussolini was a socialist until he was expelled from the socialist party for calling for Italy to become involved in the First World War but he was very much the exception amongst the fascists most of whom were originally conservative right wing middle class nationalists. If you want a proper picture of Italian fascism there are many good books now but you could start with those by Denis MacSmith or a new cultural history of fascism called Modernism and Fascism by Roger Griffin.

          On more general points, despite repeated claims to the contrary that have been made ever since the start of the Cold War there was nothing remotely socialist about European fascism in the interwar years whilst the similarities that some claim to find between Soviet Communism and German Nazism on careful examination prove illusory. The theory, practice and ideology of Communism and Nazism/Fascism were completely different. The literature on this question is enormous and impossible to summarise here.

          I would say that (pace Yalensis) Goldberg, though an intellectually ridiculous figure, seems to me from a distance more concerned with attacking Democrats, liberals and the anti war movement in the US than he is in making comparisons between socialists and fascists. Any claims about the supposed similarities of socialists and fascists that he makes appear to me largely incidental to this agenda.

          • Dear ALex,

            I have seen some of Lew Rockwell’s articles before. He is an economic libertarian (he is chairman of the Ludwig Mises Institute which promotes the Austrian school of economic theory – think Frederick Hayek) and a palaeo-conservative in his social outlook. Commentators Pat Buchanan and James Bovard are in the same camp of thinking: they advocate free market policies in governing economies and oppose current US foreign policy and military spending. They also oppose Israeli / Zionist lobbying influences on the US government though they generally support Israel’s existence. There is a website called The American Conservative which was set up by Buchanan (he has or had a magazine of the same name) which posts articles promoting their ideas and thinking. They are big fans of Ron Paul.

            In their paradigm socialist policies are no different from policies followed by fascists: socialists and fascists are portrayed as believers in big-brother / nanny-state government with anti-individualist / anti-democratic agendas.

            • Thanks, @Jen, for clarification of Rockwell’s ridiculous ideas. I guess you could say that every “ism” sees the social struggle in a different way: Marxism says every modern human society is based on the class struggle (capitalists vs. workers). Feminism says society is based on the struggle between men and women. Randites (like Ron Paul) say society is a struggle between big-government bureaucrats vs individuals. Of all the ideologies, the Randites are the most ludicrous. We know that a proletarian government is possible, because we had the Soviet Union. (Some people might say it was horrible, but at least it was physically possible.) Most people could even envision a government run entirely by females. But nobody could ever prove or point to anything in human history that would indicate people could get by for even five minutes without any government whatsoever! And with human societies and economies becoming ever more complex, governments also must become bigger and more complex. Hence, the Randites are just silly utopians with no hope of ever implementing their ideas.

              • Yalensis,

                You said “But nobody could ever prove or point to anything in human history that would indicate people could get by for even five minutes without any government whatsoever!”

                But no, it’s a plain fact that peoples have lived without a government or state for centuries! It has happened in ancient Greece, in the age of Pericles, and in some parts of Europe during the Early Middle Ages.
                “We might say Western Civilization began around 550, but there was no significant structure of public authority until almost 1050, with no state at all over the preceding two centuries, 850-1050.”

              • Actually Belgium did well without a government for 18 months from June 2010 to December 2011, especially when you consider that there has long been a major ethnic and economic divide between Flemish speakers and French speakers in that country. Add to that long-standing division various immigrants from African and Asian countries professing very different religious faiths and probably sitting at the bottom levels of Belgian society, a big public debt and economic problems arising from that debt and the 2008 GFC, and 18 months of no government with hardly a riot, demonstration or false-flag terrorist plot look very impressive!

            • Alexander Mercouris says:

              Thank you for the explanation Jen!

              What I find interesting is that the political views of people like Ron Paul which are now regarded as fringe were once upon a time the conservative mainstream. Robert Taft who was the Senator for Ohio in the 1940s and early 1950s and who was widely acknowledged to be the intellectual leader of the Republican party (he very nearly became the Republican presidential candidate in 1952) had views on foreign and domestic policy that were in all essentials the same as those of Ron Paul today. No one in those days would have called Robert Taft a maverick. Indeed the idea would have struck people as absurd. In 1957 Robert Taft was even named one of the greatest US Senators of all time.

              The argument that fascism and socialism are both simply aspects of a belief in the strong state are the themes of Hayek’s Road to Serfdom, which I read for the first time a few months ago. That book was of course written in 1944 when right wing conservatives like Hayek were politically very much on the defensive and were looking for ways to distance capitalism from fascism. It is actually a very bizarre idea, which has been refuted many times and doing so here would require far more time and space than is available in a comment on this blog. All I would say is that it is precisely because this idea is so bizarre that those who hold it are obliged to invent or distort historical facts in the way that Lew Rockwell does in his article when discussing Mussolini. Hayek by the way also does this on a spectacular scale in Road to Serfdom, which doesn’t however seem to worry the many fans of this book or the Nobel Prize Committee that awarded Hayek the Nobel Prize.

              • Thanks, @alexander, you made a very perceptive point about the connection between ideologues like Hayek being on the defensive after WWII. After Western capitalist democracies had to go to war against Nazi Germany (a fellow capitalist country), proponents of capitalism (who claimed that capitalism and parliamentary democracy are one and the same) had to explain how come Nazi Germany could be a highly developed capitalist country AND be ruled by a crazy dictator. So, they ended up contorting reality and inventing this a-historical concept of the “totalitarian” system. As a bonus, this philosophy allowed them to blur important distinctions between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. They pointed to a few superficial similarities and hoped that most people would be stupid enough to just see those factors without understanding the whole picture.
                Many of these ideologists, by the way, were Eastern Europeans who had a bone to pick with Soviet Union and were bitter about the (temporary) wartime alliance between Western democracies and Soviet Union. Their fundamental loyalty was to capitalism, not to democracy. They would have secretly preferred to see Germany win the war, but were denied that treat. So they bided their time, waited until the end of the war, and then helped to build the ideological frenzy of anti-Communism that ensued.

              • Let me just make it clear I didn’t mean that there was no government in the age of Pericles. I was writing a longer sentence, then deleted from it imperfectly.

            • I would rather have Ron Paul as POTUS than any of the “mainstream” whack jobs from the Republicans and Democrats, or basically two wings of the same corporatist (aka fascist) party. How realistic is the whole small government theory would take a back seat to reality if peleocons were in power. But the main thing would be a pullback from empire building; a really good thing.

              BTW, a lot of the neocons were Trotskyists in their younger years.

              • Alexander Mercouris says:

                “…a lot of neocons were Trotskyites in their younger days…”

                I have personal experience of this. When I was at University I was the secretary of the Labour Club. That was between 1979 and 1982. I was considered on the far right of the Labour Party and was subjected to constant abuse by all sorts of characters who were various types of leftists and communists. In the 2000s these same people all resurfaced as fanatical Blairites or neocons. One person who gave me particular grief was a person called David Aranovich who was in those days a communist and who became President of the National Union of Students. He is now a leading writer on the London Times where he is a ferocious supporter of liberal interventionism around the world, an implacable enemy of people he calls apologists for left wing regimes and a disciple and follower of Blair.

              • Ron Paul has noted that the neo-cons admire the German-American philosopher Leo Strauss who, according to Shadia Drury in her book “Leo Strauss and the American Right”, believed that liberal democracy led to the Nazi-Jewish Holocaust (due to a supposed moral vacuum that arises in liberal democracy) and argued for a society to be religious and for people to be ruled by religion (even if it’s false). Lying to the people becomes necessary and permanent revolution, pre-emptive war and the use of force to impose US-style “democracy” and other Straussian lies are favoured. A centralised “welfare” state that controls people through their social security numbers so it can force them to believe in Straussian lies is the neo-con ideal. This is where Ron Paul, Pat Buchanan and other palaeo-conservatives depart from most other so-called conservatives and neo-cons.

              • It is unfortunately true that many neo-Trotskyites became Blair-ites, another example is Chrisopher Hitchens, it is difficult for me to understand how a person, even a freebooting intellectual, can switch their basic class allegiance on the turn of a dime, but nonetheless once again I have to defend Trotsky himself. Trotsky remained a Marxist to the end and always backed working class struggles. He himself NEVER supported any imperialist or neo-colonial wars. I challenge anyone to prove otherwise. In fact, in the 30’s Trotsky perceptively saw the rise of Nazism as a threat to the Soviet Union, he correctly identified Nazism as an aggressive form of capitalism, and he wrote many essays trying to urge Soviets to arm to defend themselves against this threat.
                In summary, Trotsky should not be held liable for any wayward followers who switch sides and start rooting for international imperialism. I am guessing their idea of being a Trotskyist was probably flawed from the start, they never read “Kapital”, they were probably just young hooligans attracted to the concept of “permanent revolution” thinking that means just going wild and ripping up the world, not understanding that the “permanent revolution” in question was supposed to bring the working class (not Wall Street) to power in a given country.

          • Thanks, @alexander, your refutation of Ivan’s argument was much better than anything I could have come up with, not being as knowledgeable in Italian history. I just want to make one point: that INDIVIDUALS are free to move around ideologically and even switch their class allegiances (like Mussolini did, when he transitioned from socialist to fascist). But none of that changes the basic reality underlying human society, that society is divided into different economic classes who come into conflict with each other, fighting for their proportional slice of the pie. Ideologically aware people might feel called upon to take sides in the class struggle, just like people takes sides in a football match. Generally, the adherents of fascist ideologies tend to be the well-to-do or privileged elite of a given society, but there is nothing preventing some random worker or intellectual (or even a street bum) from signing up to promote the cause of the wealthy elite. Humans are complicated, and so is reality!

            • Alexander Mercouris says:

              Dear Yalensis,

              That is exactly right. An individual like Mussolini might switch from being a socialist to being a fascist. In fact that kind of movement by individuals from sort of movement to another is common. However large scale political movements like the fascist or socialist or communist or liberal movements are rooted in the social groups or classes whose interests they represent.

              • Dear Alexander ,

                Thanks for posting on Craig Murray’s blog, it is through you that I discovered this great place!

                You said: “In fact that kind of movement by individuals from sort of movement to another is common. However large scale political movements like the fascist or socialist or communist or liberal movements are rooted in the social groups or classes whose interests they represent.”

                I have two observations:
                First, my unsystematic reading of history and current affairs suggests to me that mass switches of low-status social groups from Socialist to nationalistic/fascistic, is fairly common. Germany in the 1930s and France in the last few decades, and the Socialists at the beginning of WW1, are examples off the top of the head.
                Second, to say that ‘class structure is a basic social reality’ is simply an ideological view. “Basic” in this claim suggests to me that the speaker doesn’t want to consider an alternative. I see is nothing in the character of societies that clearly suggests that they have one basis and not another.

                (Your earlier point on the way Mussolini came to power is true, of course.)

            • It’s not my argument, Yalensis! I took pains to make that clear.

              • Alexander Mercouris says:

                Dear Ivan K,

                You are right that it was not your argument! I am sure I speak for everyone if I welcome you to this blog.

                On the subject of social groups undertaking a mass change of political allegiance, I think that is actually very rare. It is for example a myth that the German working class went over to the Nazis. In fact what actually happened in the elections between 1930 and 1933 is that German workers who had previously voted for the Social Democrats were transferring in increasing numbers to the Communists and not to the Nazis. In other words the German working class vote remained solidly socialist but as workers became more radicalised over the course of the Depression they shifted from the moderate left to the extreme left. I once intended to write a study of German elections during this period so this is something that I have some knowledge of.

                I am less familiar with the situation in France. I know it is often said that former Communist voters in France have now switched to the National Front but I was once told that this was untrue. Without more knowledge I don’t want to commit myself one way or another. I think it is more likely that left wing voters who formerly voted Communist now vote for the French Socialist Party.

                Overall though I would say that the basic point I made before holds true. This is that once political movements become consolidated in society and come to represent particular social groups it is rare for those groups to change their allegiance. Having said this all human affairs are subject to change and as society changes so do political allegiances.

              • Sorry for the misunderstanding, Ivan. I am very much enjoying this ideological discussion that we are having.

  3. BTW I really like the balalaika player, he is most excellent.

  4. Alexander Mercouris says:

    Going back to the elections, here is a cluster of opinion polls as reported on Voice of Russia:

    The projections for Putin winning a clear victory in the first round with up to 60% of the vote are exactly in line with Anatoly’s estimates of a few weeks ago. Given that this is so it would seem that Putin’s lead is not so much growing but rather that as the election approaches his vote is hardening. That is of course no more than what one would expect.

    In my opinion the problems Zyuganov is encountering in Moscow and St. Petersburg are probably explained by loss to Putin of working class support in those cities as a result of the KPRF’s decision to go into bed with the liberal led protest movement. That is unless there has been a polling error, which (pace the exit polls in Moscow and St. Petersburg during the parliamentary elections) I think is quite possible.

    • Naturally none of this polling data will be presented in the “free” western media. Free of facts that is.

      The liberast circus is backfiring. They actually believed in the BS they were spewing and thought Russians would revolt against Putin/UR “oppression”. What they have is a backlash instead. I was expecting Putin to get about 50% but now it looks like 60% and he will clear the first round. I can hear the bleating about fraud in the western media already.

      I am a bit disappointed that Mironov is falling behind. You would have to be a drone to vote for comprador Zyuganov. He’s a lost cause and needs to be sent to the trash bin of history. Pavolvian dog drool voting for the KPRF is not doing the KPRF any favours. It needs a regime change and badly.

      • Alexander Mercouris says:

        Dear Kirill,

        You are absolutely right in saying that the western media is ignoring the rise in Putin’s opinion poll rating. I do not think I have seen a single article in the British press that admits that this is happening. On the contrary only this morning I was reading an article by someone called I think Catherine Belton in the Financial Times, which was still talking about how Putin’s popularity was falling. I cannot give you a link to this article because it is behind a pay wall but it had a very ugly and threatening feel to it claiming for example on the strength of information supposedly provided by unnamed “insiders” within the Russian government that a consensus is emerging that there will have to be fresh parliamentary elections within 18 months or Putin risks being violently overthrown.

        I ought to say that it is not only the western media that is ignoring the increase in Putin’s poll rating. RIA Novosti on its English language website almost invariably refers to Putin’s falling popularity in its election coverage.

      • You’re totally right about that, @kirill. I am now beating myself up for voting for Ziuganov in Anatoly’s straw poll. (Is it too late for me to retract my vote, Anatoly?) In my own defense, that was before I saw the list of Z’s proposed coalition government. Yechhh, what a stinkbomb!

        • Alexander Mercouris says:

          Now that I have actually seen the breakdown in the opinion polls in Moscow I realise that I was wrong. Zyuganov seems to be polling at roughly the same level in Moscow and St. Petersburg that he is polling nationally. The reason he is behind Prokhorov in these two cities is because Putin is weaker in those cities. In other words it is not that Zyuganov has lost votes to Putin but that Putin has lost votes to Prokhorov whose vote has thereby got stronger.

          All this of course begs the question of whether these polls are right. We shall see,

          • The poll in question (for ref).

            I’m totally not surprised by the figures for Moscow. It’s the home of the liberals after all. All the Yabloko/PARNAS hipsters, intelligents, and democratic journalists who populate the central districts will be casting their votes for Prokhorov.

            There was a funny YouTube video (see 0:42) I came across about a hip Moscow cafe chain of 2 stores which makes lattes decorated with the face of the Presidential candidate of the customer’s choice. They keep tabs on these orders as a way of conducting an informal opinion poll. Prokhorov is in the lead with 47.4% and 41.0%; Putin gets 22.9% and 25.9%; Zhirik 11.9% and 11.4%; Zyuganov gets 9.4% and 13.3%; and Mironov gets 8.5% and 8.4%.

            Moscow’s latte-sipping liberals have, quite literally, made their choice clear!

            Fair Russia is very strong in St.-Petersburg, so Mironov’s relatively good showing there according to VCIOM isn’t surprising either.