On March 15, there were two demonstrations in Moscow, one for and one against Russian intervention in Ukraine. A friend of mine in Russia sent me a link to an amateur video taken of both marches. Here it is:
The first half of the video shows the “March for Peace,” opposing intervention. The banner leading the march reads “Hands off Ukraine”; another banner further back reads “bring the Russian forces home.” The demonstrators are chanting “Russia without Putin!” In addition to Ukrainian and Russian flags, the protesters carry flags reading “Solidarity” and “Party of Progress.” A rough estimate would place the size of the demonstration at about 50,000 people.
The second half of the video shows the pro-Putin demonstration. It is led by red-jacketed members of a paramilitary organization. These appear to have been bused in for the occasion, as some of their banners indicate that they represent the Volga or other distant regions. They are carrying Russian and Soviet flags. The size of the demonstration appears to be on the order of a few thousand.
Two things stand out. First, it is remarkable, given its total control of the media and the advantage of being able to employ a simple nationalist appeal, that the regime was not able to mobilize a genuine mass demonstration in its support. Second, given the risks that they face opposing the regime at any time, but most especially under current circumstances, the anti-Putin demonstrators’ turnout was truly impressive. The state media has responded by hysterically denouncing the peace marchers as “traitors.” It would appear that the thought police have reason to be concerned.
— Robert Zubrin is president of Pioneer Energy of Lakewood, Colo., and the author of Energy Victory. The paperback edition of his latest book, Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism, was just published by Encounter Books.