Authoritarian Parallels

One of the main theses of this blog is that in many respects, Russia is far more similar to the the “West” (and vice versa) than various democratists would have you believe.

Case in point (h/t Jon Hellevig):

When GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney visited an Ohio coal mine this month to promote jobs in the coal industry, workers who appeared with him at the rally lost pay because their mine was shut down. The Pepper Pike company that owns the Century Mine told workers that attending the Aug. 14 Romney event would be both mandatory and unpaid, a top company official said Monday morning in a West Virginia radio interview. … Moore told Blomquist that managers “communicated to our workforce that the attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend.”

“Mandatory” but “no one was forced to attend.” Hmm… how does that work?

This episode of Ohio coal workers pressured to attend a Romney rally does in fact neatly parallel anecdotally numerous cases in the run-up to the Russian elections. I even accept that these cases are far more prevalent in Russia, though the reasons for this are structural. Whereas single industry towns with singular political allegiances – e.g., coal towns, for whom Romney is far preferable to Obama – are the exception rather than the rule in the US, there are hundreds of such “monograds” in Russia. These monograds tend to have authoritarian political cultures at the local level.

But its not like you never stumble across analogues to them in the West.


  1. Nashi although much larger in scope with bigger backing and more aggressive posture as a counter to US, EU and Soros institutions and NGO’s who fund their own youth movements in Russia as well as the opposition and social programs could be compared to the United Against Fascism that was created by the 3 major political parties as a counter to a rising popularity for a period among the British working class of the British National Party who ran on an anti-immigration platform like other nationalist parties in Europe.

    With their affiliate Searchlight which I guess is our equivalent of the Southern Poverty Law Centre conspired with the BBC to do a hit piece documentary on the BNP that was used to prosecute Griffin facing a possible 7 year prison sentence for hate speech that he was later acquitted as hate speech laws only cover race and ethnicity not religion.

    Not that I have any love for the BNP but it does show how the establishment and the media can conspire in democratic western countries when faced with a challenge outside of their control/political spectrum.

  2. Mandatory but no one was forced to attend. Hmm how does that work?”

    Might be code for “show not stay” video production where an emcee and a comedian get the audience to laugh and applaud in a focused manner. The producer gets a dozen or so samples then they let’em go. TV land gets to see miners having a good time with Romney.