Cracking the Moscow Maidan: Part 3 – An (anti-)Russian “Revolution”


November 8, 2017 – Fort Russ – 

By Eduard Popov, translated by Jafe Arnold – 

Disgraced oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Continued from Part 2 

The people protesting under the banners of the liberal opposition are mostly residents of Russia’s richest cities, first and foremost Moscow. As a rule, there are few actually poor and disadvantaged people among the protesters, and there are many paid activists. On the contrary, the poorer Russian population and the regions are generally favorable towards and loyal to President Putin and critical of the Medvedev government. This phenomenon of “dissatisfied rich” and “loyal poor” is nothing new or unknown since at least the French Revolution. In my opinion, this issue is best explained by Gramsci rather than classical Marxism.

Revolutions happen in minds, not wallets. As an historian, I find it hard to find in world history any examples in which revolutions erupted purely over intolerable social conditions. On the contrary, many revolutions occur in relatively prosperous societies. For example, the most prosperous era in the history of modern Ukraine, following the economic and social achievements of Prime Minister Yanukovych, was followed by the “Orange Revolution” and quickly ruined by President Yushchenko. As things look now, Ukraine will probably never return to the level of prosperity that it enjoyed in the early 2000’s. The February Revolution in Russia in 1917 also happened in a relatively prosperous country and was the result of the talented work of enemy intelligence (the political department of the German General Staff), a dedicated group of revolutionaries, and the striking irresponsibility and stupidity of the ruling elite and liberal opposition. While the French and Germans were living on ration cards, Russian citizens had more than enough and rather weakly felt the economic hardships of the war. The February Revolution was perhaps the first successful example of a “color revolution.”

The relatively well off portion of the Moscow population that goes out for protests is doing so out of social infatuation and political boredom. They protest not because things are bad, but because things are boring. They are not faced with the necessity of fighting to survive, but their social self-esteem is suffering due to a mismatch between ambitions and reality. But these people are just the cannon fodder of the “revolution.”

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Another matter altogether is the organizers, those professionals needed for any revolution. Thanks to fairly transparent borders with Ukraine, a flood of professional organizers with experience from the Maidan has made its way into Russia. The author of these lines saw with his own eyes an instance in which groups of young men, with a minimum number of things and without families, suspiciously crossed the border from the Lugansk People’s Republic into Russia. It is apparently in this way that the militants of a future Moscow Maidan are leaking into Russia.

In May 2017, my Facebook page was blocked by the editorial board, which in the Russian version is run by Ukrainian citizens closely working in conjunction with the SBU, as Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Secretary, Alexander Turchynov, has admitted. The reason? A post of mine from November 5th, 2015 (two years ago!) in which I commented on “Glory to Ukraine” chants heard at the Russian March in Moscow. I concluded then that Ukrainian Maidan activists had infiltrated the Russian nationalist scene and were trying to provoke a Maidan in Moscow.

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Like any attempted revolution, the Moscow protests have their sheep (or herd) and their shepherds. The “leaders” are professional revolutionaries who can’t exist and work purely on enthusiasm. They need money to exist and money to organize revolution. The source of their money is the oligarch Khodorkovsky – this is the official version. In the comments under my recent article on Sobchak, I came across a reader’s mention of Soros money allocated for organizing revolution in Russia. This, without a doubt, is a correct assessment. However, this needs one fundamental clarification. Neither Khodorkovsky, who lost the lion’s share of his fortune after corruption investigations, nor Soros have enough money to have a revolution organized in Russia in the time of several months. Soros, we should member, is only one of the CIA’s outlets. This is the main customer, or “contractor” behind revolution in Russia, but the order itself is coming from realms higher than the CIA, which is itself only one tool.

The American establishment is acting quite in line with its goals. Despite the US’ incomparably greater budget, and despite the entire system of American globalism, Washington, which already envelops most of the world, simply cannot defeat its Russian opponent. And even if they did, such a victory would only be Pyrrhic. Hence why changing Russia’s government and putting in place a second Gorbachev or Yeltsin is a much more attainable objective, or even better: simply splitting Russia into several parts. The mass of people who go out to street protests are unaware of these ultimate goals and are unconscious pawns of someone foreign. 

I look at the future with cautious optimism. As already said in part one, Russians are by and large not inclined to supporting Maidan scenarios. Plus, both Russian society and the government are still startled by the example of Ukraine, seeing in their neighbor an example of how not to address problems. Thus, any plans for a Moscow Maidan will end in failure. 

Eduard Popov is a Rostov State University graduate with a PhD in history and philosophy. In 2008, he founded the Center for Ukrainian Studies of the Southern Federal University of Russia, and from 2009-2013, he was the founding head of the Black Sea-Caspian Center of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, an analytical institute of the Presidential Administration of Russia. In June 2014, Popov headed the establishment of the Representative Office of the Donetsk People’s Republic in Rostov-on-Don and actively participated in humanitarian aid efforts in Donbass. In addition to being Fort Russ’ guest analyst since June, 2016, Popov is currently the leading research fellow of the Institute of the Russian Abroad and the founding director of the Europe Center for Public Initiatives. 

Jafe Arnold is Special Editor of Fort Russ, Special Projects Director of the Center for Syncretic Studies, and the founding Editor-in-Chief of Eurasianist Internet Archive. Holding a Bachelors in European Cultures from the University of Wroclaw (Poland), Arnold is currently undertaking his Masters in Western Esotericism at the University of Amsterdam. 


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