The Nashi Threat

Here’s an interesting bit of exclusive news: a trusted colleague of mine has leaked to me copies of a series of worrying placards being printed right now in Moscow by the Nashi for distribution on Sunday following (or during) the successful elections. These items of propaganda urge Putin supporters to take to the streets in premature celebration, to defend the outcome before it is announced officially on Dec. 6. It is in many ways an open gesture of confession that even the Nashi don’t believe that a real election is taking place. The posters use highly incendiary language and aggressive caricatures in the name of the president, similar to an exhortation to riot seen in other countries far less developed than Russia. I’m considerably concerned about this development, and I warn all friends and colleagues in Moscow to exercise extreme care in the days between the election and the announcement of results. It seems that the murder of a Yabloko candidate, the arrest and jailing of Kasparov and others, and the ongoing violence at any opposition rally isn’t enough to satisfy the Nashi. I fear the worst could still be yet to come. We expect to post some scans of these materials on the blog within 24 hours.