Bayonetting Putler with Navalny

Navalny has just moved the planned June 12 protest from Prospekt Sakharova, a fairly central and very spacious location, to Tverskaya, which is minutes away from the Kremlin, at the last minute.

The former event was officially sanctioned by the city authorities.

The new one is not.

Navalny claims that this was done because the Moscow city administration pressured sound and stage suppliers not to participate in his event. This makes it impossible for him to give a speech to a large crowd. As evidence, he attached a recording between one of the suppliers and what is presumably one of his staff members, in which the supplier sheepishly explains that he has received instructions from on high not to service the event.

This is his version of the story.

There is however an alternate theory.

The Tverskaya protests on March 26 were unsanctioned, meaning that the more timid and “respectable” avoided showing up. Attendance at a sanctioned meeting, all other things equal, should be considerably higher (the middle-aged office plankton who form a considerable percentage of Navalny’s support base aren’t keen on risking arrest by participating in illegal gatherings). But with less than 12 hours to go, the the number of people saying they are “going” on Facebook stands at a modest 4,000. In contrast, 5,200 say they “went” to the Tverskaya protest in March, which translated to an actual turnout of about 8,000. Assuming the correlation holds, we are looking at similar figures this June. This is decidedly embarassing, especially in light of the anti-khrushchevki demolition protests this May, which gathered 20,000 people – and at the very place where Navalny was supposed to hold his meeting, to add to the humiliation.

Ordinary Muscovites evidently care more about their khrushchevki – and for that matter their summer sojourns to their dachas – than staying behind in Moscow to hear more about Navalny’s latest beef with Uzbek oligarchs. Not good!

So this is where the alternate explanation comes in. Since the original protest looked like it was going to be a flop anyway, why not make a last minute change to “illegalize” it, inviting a potentially heavy police response for the delectation of Navalny’s YouTube fans and Western videocameras?


There is an additional fact that makes this version of events both more plausible, and more potentially dangerous. June 12 is a national holiday (Russia Day), and there is already another event planned for the Tverskaya location – the last day of a 12 day historical reconstruction festival that has been advertised for weeks, and is expected to draw up to 150,000 visitors.

The last day of the reconstruction festival will be dedicated to the defense of Sevastopol in the Crimean War.

So imagine the spectacle of Preobrazhensky Regiment riflemen coming from all over Russia and abroad to support Navalny – and having to pit their “reconstruction skills” against the truncheons of the OMON.

headlines-readyAs noted by one Twitter user: “Cameras and headlines are ready.

Not a lot more to add. Now we wait and see.

Hopefully, the Russian police exercise appropriate restraint, so that we don’t actually have to find out whether the bayonet is a fine lad. They are well funded and quite professional these days, so I don’t think it’s likely things will get out of hand.

It is also worth underlining that it is grossly irresponsible and unethical for someone who pretends to be a serious politician to push his agenda on people who didn’t ask for it, and who only want to watch pretend battles, not risk being caught up in a real one. This applies tenfold if Navalny misrepresented the situation with the stage and sound suppliers to justify his planned hijacking of the reconstruction festival (if so this would not be the first time that he has bent the truth to serve his own narrative).

Though who cares about any of that when there is clickbait to be written about the latest crimes of the Putler regime.

EDIT June 12, 1330 Moscow time: On Reddit (1, 2) a couple of people have criticized me for not using attendance data. I copy my response:

What matters is not absolute numbers who say they are going to attend, but relative numbers from event to event.

Assuming that a similar multiple of Facebook “goings” translate into visitors from event to event, then comparing the previous event to the later event on just one social media platform is legitimate.

Anyhow, there is a banal reason I didn’t include VK – while this current protest does indeed have 15K, I was simply unable to locate the VK event page for the March 26 protest.

Moreover. List of event pages for the March 26 protest. But Moscow links takes us here, which now advertises today’s event. This is not an event page, but as I understand a group page.

Was the counter actually reset to zero after the last event? This is a critical question that I don’t know the answer to (I don’t use VK much and am not very familiar with its fine workings), so using VK data would have been doubly unrealistic.

Anyhow, if anybody can’t answer the two questions above – whether or not the counter reset to zero after the March event, and if it did, what was the peak “going” figure for it – that would be much appreciated.

EDIT 2: It now emerges that a sound & stage system was installed at prospekt Sakharova after all (1, 2), which would appear to invalidate Navalny’s claim that suppliers were forced to pull out.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. aceofspades says

    I’m pretty sure most of these anti-Putin people are funded by the US state department. The other day, I was reading Time magazine, and there was a whole section devoted to the “anti-Putin” youth of Russia. It seems like the media here in the states is still obsessed with Russia. Even if this protest is peaceful and there is no confrontation with the Moscow police, CNN will fabricate some fake news, as it always has.

  2. Since only Washington possesses the official seal of approval with which it certifies different countries as “democracies”, the Russian brand of democracy doesn’t cut the mustard. Specifically, the only thing that prevents the Russian democracy to win the approval of Washington – is the leader of Russia – Putin.

    Just to show how rigorous the criteria is to win that approval, even their own leader – Trump hasn’t won that endorsement yet. It’s tough to be a “democratic” leader these days.

    The good thing about this whole situation is that technically for a leader to win the approval from Washington – it has to be a traitor to his own country and then he’ll qualify. People like Navalny are only too eager to comply with this prerequisite – being traitors to their countries in order to qualify as “democrats” by Washington standards.

    People like Putin and Trump, on the other hand don’t care for the approval from the American deep state, because the only way to please those people is to be a traitor to the ones that you are supposed to represent. As for Navalny, the only approval that he deserves from the Russian people should come by a good swing (or a dozen) of two by four in some dark alley.

  3. Daniil Adamov says

    That sure sounds like Navalny. Then again, I’m ill-disposed enough to him to buy into any story about him putting people into harm’s way for fame and profit. But isn’t that his standard M.O.? I’m sure I’ve heard some similar things before, though not on such a scale. Something about dragging in schoolchildren…

  4. technically for a leader to win the approval from Washington – it has to be a traitor to his own country and then he’ll qualify

    This requirement includes American leaders as well, has to be unconditional, and has to be accompanied by total loyalty to the globalists. This is why Trump doesn’t qualify.

  5. Mao Cheng Ji says

    And what’s the status of the much publicized ‘anti-maidan’ organization? Isn’t this just the sort of situation they were supposed to prevent? I want to see some real street fights.

    Aux armes, citoyens! Formez vos bataillons! Marchons, marchons!

  6. Felix Keverich says


    What’s your take on Navalny’s interview with Sobchak? Navalny was asked questions about his economic program, and he sounded like a total idiot (it is as if he didn’t read his own program), he looked VERY uncomfortable answering questions about Crimea, and his demeanor throughout the interview was just bizarre (like he didn’t want to be there). I thought he guy was supposed to be smart and smooth-talking, but his performance with Sobchak was simply embarrassing.

  7. Your impressions tally with mine, though I didn’t listen to the whole thing.

    I was amused to hear him describe Putin as a far right “reactionary” who want to establish “monarchy” in Russia.

  8. The Anti Maidan organization is purely cosmetic. If their trouble than the national guard/riot police are supposed to do the job.

  9. Felix Keverich says

    The Anti Maidan organization is purely cosmetic.

    A waste of taxpayer money is what it is! But come to think of it, a genuine right-wing militia would be more trouble for the Kremlin, than the liberals are.

  10. Mao Cheng Ji says

    But I want to see Mr Starikov leading patriotic yoots into a fight… To kick office plankton’s fat ass…

  11. Starikov is a devoted Stalin worshipper and a hardass wannabe.

    Yet when however faced with a real test in 2014, he started wailing about the dangers of provoking WW3 with the US as the reason for why Russia should under no circumstances openly intervene in the Ukraine, probably due to Kremlin threats and/or bribery. (The Saker parroted similar propaganda in English for free).

    Beating fellow Russians (even if misguided ones) is the only thing Starikovites and NOD types are any good at.

  12. Beating fellow Russians (even if misguided ones)

    Fellowship (fellowness) works only when it is a two way street. Once it turns into simplex communications, such as the case with filthy Moscow beau monde, I see no problem with beating some of them. I do not consider people such as Navalny, Nekrasov or Venedictov to be “fellow Russians”. What can possibly be “fellow” between Borya Nadezhdin and some tool and die maker from Zvezdo0chka, or, say battalion CO in Southern Military District? Nothing, in fact the abstract measure of their “Russian fellowness” can only be expressed with the negative number.

  13. But I want to see Mr Starikov leading patriotic yoots into a fight…

    You have better chance seeing Russian armed forces veterans doing this than Starikov’s or Kurginyan’s “youth”.

  14. Mao Cheng Ji says

    I know, I know… Joking…

  15. Is Navalny being funded by Soros ?

  16. Anonymous says

    Imagine calling centrist sportsbrah Putlet a reactionary. I guess even East Euros are starting to get (a little) gay, in comparison to the East Asians at least.

  17. Felix Keverich says

    If he is being funded from abroad, it is happening covertly. But somebody gave him money to open 77 offices across Russia. Could be Khodorkovsky. Or the CIA – a bunch of people in Navalny’s entourage received scholarships to study in American universities. Navalny himself attended Yale.

  18. Daniil Adamov says

    Does Khodorkovsky still have money? (I’m being snide, of course he does – but the kind of political funds needed to bankroll the freedom fuhrer?)

    I thought Navalny was being funded by more successful oligarchs. Like Lebedev. Might have changed though.

  19. According to Team Navalny the cost of those 77 officers is projected at 150 million rubles ($2.5 million). This isn’t a serious sum for Khodorkovsky even today – I expect his Open Russia/Institute of Modern Russia projects cost more – but I doubt he’s giving anything. I am given to understand that Khodorkovsky doesn’t have the best of relations with Navalny, and besides, sourcing money from a convicted and exiled oligarch would be very bad for Navalny’s image. The sorts of Russians who support Navalny tend to be higher IQ, computer literate, and richer on average so I don’t expect him to have major trouble getting that amount of money from domestic sources. He actively solicits donations on his websites and sending money online in Russia is very easy nowadays.

  20. Felix Keverich says

    I certainly hope FSB keeps a database of his domestic sponsors 🙂

  21. Yes, killing Navalny sounds like a lot more fun than killing some poor NATO conscript. Chateaubriand has an analogous remark somewhere in the “Mémoires d’outre-tombe”.

  22. ussr andy says

    I must say – and I haven’t looked too deep into it – but the NOD stuff makes intuitive sense. There is a certain land-for-beads type quality to what happened in 1989-1992.

  23. Maj. Kong says

    It is hard to tell where the State Department ends, and Soros begins. The Ford, Rockefeller and Carnegie foundations are also major players for over a century.

  24. Mao Cheng Ji says

    It is hard to tell where the State Department ends, and Soros begins.

    Yes. There is a conspiracy theory where I live, according to which Soros is not what he seems, but just a figurehead used for channeling US government funds into various projects.

  25. Yes, killing Navalny

    Who said anything about killing?

  26. Anonymous says

    Predictably, the NYT reported “mass protests in 200 cities.” What was the turnout in cities outside Moscow? Probably not much, of course, but I couldn’t find any stats online. Could anyone please point me to some estimate ? Thanks.

  27. They are pretty small outside Moscow/SPB.

    From Bryan MacDonald:

    For instance, the event in Novosibirsk, Russia’s third-largest city, was attended by around 2,000 people and there were no reports of any disturbances. And in Khabarovsk, the distant Far Eastern capital, 300 or so showed up, generating a carnival-like atmosphere outside the Lenin Stadium.

    Novosibirsk has a population of 1.5mn and Khabarovsk a population of 600,000.

  28. Predictably, the NYT reported “mass protests in 200 cities.” What was the turnout in cities outside Moscow? Probably not much, of course, but I couldn’t find any stats online. Could anyone please point me to some estimate ?

    Bryansk. – 100 people
    Kaluga – 150 people
    In Petrozavodsk – 100 people
    etc. etc.

    Here you can see pictures of these “mass protests ”

  29. For those who can read Russian, an interesting write-up of Navalny’s Moscow event by a bead-maker, who showed up with his students to the historical festival (which had been planned for that location since half a year ago) to demonstrate how ancient Russians made decorative beads, and instead unexpectedly found himself in the middle of a rowdy pro-Navalny liberal/OMON police battle, which he narrowly escaped:

    A partial translation:

    They [the liberals] yelled into the faces of myself, the musicians and historical reconstructionists that we were “traitors”, that what we’re doing is useless sht, that we should instead be having meetings, that we are paid-off varmints who were placed there in order to disrupt their meetings. To our protests that we’re teaching people crafts and history, we received the reply: “Nobody needs any of that sht! We need to have meetings and create a revolution!”. I really wanted to bash these people’s faces in, but people were yelling at us that we shouldn’t give in to provocation, because EVERYTHING was CONSTANTLY being filmed by dozens of cameras.

    In the end, the programme continued after a several-hour interruption. Of course, I didn’t make any more beads, because I needed to heat up my oven again and there wasn’t much time left.
    In one of the camps, they took down and broke a pavilion, and broke the tent in another. But the reconstructionists, having armed themselves with shields, saved the most important places from total destruction. I understand how difficult it must have been not to grab the spears and axes, as well.

  30. I understand how difficult it must have been not to grab the spears and axes, as well.

    It could become nice picture – Person with nagan prop in ww2 officer uniform in front of 19Th century soldiers and then 14th century warriors with shields and spears at left part of the shot and Navalny’s hipsters on the other 😀

  31. Should of used the Tomahawk strike on Russia instead of Syria. Pols should all be given a revolver and one bullet. Spin your fate. We have the better optics investment and not scrap metal and debt.

  32. Anonymous says

    .. .. from London, and not Russian perspective.. Navalny is a traitor.. and provocateur..
    Protesters from Occupy London and Occupy Wall Street fought for their case in much less comfortable conditions.. ha ha..
    .. as Hipolito Yrigoen said almost a hundred years ago- “No temo los de afuera que quieren comprarnos, tanto que los de adentro que quieren vendernos”
    “I do not fear outsiders who want to buy us, so much the ones inside that want to sell us”