My comment to The Times article Anti-Putin protesters jailed for six years, 7 October 2019.
These protests seem to be mostly meaningless. Fake opposition is the most basic thing in Russia and other East European countries.
The same story is being repeated over and over again. Like a well known fairy tale children keep listening to, the West listens to, reads and watches tales of ‘protests’ and ‘opposition’. And Russia obligingly supplies these stories. But are there any true stories here?
One ought to remember what Operation Trust was in the 1920s Soviet Union and how it was replicated in countless variations over the years. The political and social situation in Eastern really is fundamentally different from the West. Think of China, a Communist country with a capitalist makeup. There are ways to camouflage the political life and stage it theatrically. After all, the whole Communist politics was a theatrical play.
So, has a magical return to authenticity in public life in Russia and other East European countries occured or not? It has not.
Take the example of Poland. The Communist regime in Poland created fake opposition movements in the 1970s and 1980s, complete with street protests and prison sentences, and staged a fake collapse in 1989. The first ‘non-communist’ prime minister, Tadeusz Mazowiecki for example, was a three-time deputy to the Communist parliament, each time elected with 96-99 percent of the ‘vote’. There is a long list of post-1990 leaders whom graduated from the same political school but pretended to represented change. The Communists were leading ‘transition to capitalism’ themselves. The Communist party headquarters were even converted to a stock exchange to symbolize the change.
Today’s ‘nationalist’ political leaders in Poland and Hungary are Communist-trained functionaries.