Thursday, 10 January 2008

Good news, bad news...

Pleased to read in the Moscow Times today that Nashi (Russia site here) was for once on the opposite side to the authorities yesterday. Their picketing of the EU ‘Embassy’ (sic) in Moscow, now and then, is almost as irritating as when they harass HM’s Ambassador.

That said, the authorities normally cut Nashi a lot of slack; which makes me wonder when I read that dozens of them were detained for an illegal demonstration. Now that the State Duma elections are over – and any neo-Orange threats apparently safely put to bed, now is the time the Kremlin can focus on a calm transition between Presidencies. In other words, Nashi has kind of served its purpose for now.

A post-Soviet Komsomol was always going to have its attractions for the nostalgic. But, boy-scouts aside, Nashi as political shock-troops? I just wonder if there isn’t a sense that they need to be on a shorter leash. One can but hope…

…but then I saw this on the BBC so, perhaps then, reasonableness is not about to break out all around.

Admittedly the Americans and their bloody shield started it, but – groans – this is not a hugely helpful development.

Dmitry Rogozin is a ‘pick a fight’ politician and not someone inclined to improve Russo-NATO relations. He makes John Bolton look like Talleyrand.

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