Time for the Old Switcheroo
On February 20th, activists from Roman Dobrokhotov’s “We” movement hung a fifty-square-meter banner, shown above, from a bridge directly opposite the Moscow Kremlin. You can view photos of the unfurling on the blog of “We” activist Ilya Varlamov.
The banner showed photos of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, in a presidential gaze, and Vladimir Putin, behind bars, and invited viewers to consider the possibility that it was time, as LR founder Kim Zigfeld said on Siberian Light several years ago, for the two to change places.
We’ve written about Dobrokhotov before. He’s made many spectacular and direct challenges to the dictatorial rule of Vladimir Putin, but none more awesome and fearless than this one. Make no mistake: Putin shoots people for doing stuff like this, shoots them dead.
One can’t help but see the parallels between Putin’s Russia and places like Mubarek’s Egypt, places where revolution has spontaneously turned out the national dictatorship on its ear in hopes of achieving civilized government for a change. Given that, one knows that bold acts like Dobrokhotov’s must strike fear into the hearts of the Kremlin madmen, who are every bit as personally corrupt and arbitrarily abusive of basic legal rights as any dictatorship anywhere on this planet.
The differences, of course, are important too. Unlike Egypt, Dobrokhotov does not find a courageous, vibrant, active population ready to fight for their children’s future. Instead, what he finds is a nation of cowardly, craven sheep who will not stand and fight for any principle and who do not seem to care what horror the bequeath to their children. And, of course, he also finds a government with far more weapons it can use against the population, including a vast network of secret police, than a relatively backwards country like Egypt. Worst of all, Dobrokhotov must fight against foreign leaders like the bastard Barack Obama, who give aid and comfort to Vladimir Putin rather than the cold shoulder they give to people like Mubarek.
We applaud and loudly join in Dobrokhotov and Zigfeld’s call for Putin and Khodorkovsky to switch places. Russia would be a far, far better country if Putin were in jail and Khodorkovsky were prime minister, or dare we say president. Maybe Khodorkovsky isn’t the best man for the job, but he’s light years ahead of Putin in any category you could name. He could make real friends for Russia among foreign countries, fearlessly embrace Western standards of honesty and transparency in government and business, open Russia’s press, restore local government and make Russia a country we could be proud of. Putin, on the other hand, no rational person can dispute is at least as corrupt as he paints Khodorkovsky. Putin’s recently exposed network of gilded palaces make that unmistakably clear, and his violent crackdown on civil society, snuffing out some of Russia’s leading lights such as Politkovskaya and Estemirova, will harm Russia for generations.
It’s time for the old switcheroo.