WIDE SHOT – A GROUP OF PROTESTERS IS GATHERED BY THE STATUE
WIDE SHOT TO CLOSE-UP – A COUNTER-PROTESTER IN A NASHI T-SHIT APPROACHES FROM STAGE RIGHT, MEGAPHONE IN HAND, AND ADDRESSES THE CROWD
You call yourselves patriots? If you want to waste your time on your minor issues, fine, but don’t pretend to be doing it on behalf of my country!
A MEMBER OF THE CROWD
It’s important to us! We have no freedom in this country!
No freedom? There is no systemic discrimination against you people in Russia. You are free to do what you like. You’ve got your own clubs, your own websites and newspapers. You own radio stations, and you even have whole political parties.
ANOTHER MEMBER OF THE CROWD
They’re all powerless! The Russian people are powerless! That’s why we have to come out to demonstrate in public!
Powerless? They don’t appear to be too upset about their situation, considering the fact that the foreign media makes up half the participants at your so-called “marches.” Well, the media and a few human rights activists and other ‘side supporters.’ Your entire campaign is very much exaggerated by a small group of very devoted activists. And, oh, let’s not even get into their motives.
A MEMBER OF THE CROWD
You monster! Say what you will, but the Russian people are with us!
The liberal opposition is controversial for society in general. Even in the West, someone like Khodorkovsky would have been locked up for trying to buy the Parliament. If you throw yourself behind a known criminal, you will immediately alienate the vast majority of the population — even fellow radicals. And nothing material will actually change.
CLOSE-UP ON A BABY BEING CARRIED BY A PROTESTER IN THE CROWD
(A single tear collects and streams down her cheek.)
FADE TO BLACK.
This was, of course, a fictional conversation. But I didn’t invent it out of thin air. The words of the Nashi-activist character are based almost word-for-word on comments Oleg Kozlovsky made about gay rights activists in his English-language blog yesterday. Anatoly Karlin of Sublime Oblivion boldly asked Mr. Kozlovsky to explain his hurry to disassociate Solidarnost’ from the gay rights movement in Russia. Oleg responded calmly, but it struck me immediately that his rationale for dismissing gay rights perfectly mirrors the reluctance of most Russians to embrace liberals like Kozlovsky himself. That irony, I have no doubt, is entirely lost on Oleg Yur’evich.
Of course, in reality Kozlovsky and his comrades aren’t so much reluctant to support gay rights as they are fervently opposed to the concept on moral grounds. I’m aware that a certain degree of cultural relativism is in order when designing NGO strategy in Russia, but it’s clear that America’s “sympathetic faction” over in Russia — the Western-looking, freedom-wanters — are overall a bunch of massive homophobes.
When Oleg Kozlovsky visits the United States (which he affords to do quite frequently), he is treated like cosmopolitan royalty. He is, after all, pursuing Russia’s most “critical” issues. Right?