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The Silence of the Sheep

In a particularly gruesome and shocking act, pranksters allegedly from the Young Guard (the Nashi-like youth group linked to United Russia) sent a strong message this weekend by dumping 20 or so dead and dying sheep wearing Solidarity t-shirts right in front of the hotel where the new opposition coalition was holding its meeting.  The now widely distributed video, captured by Oleg Kozlovsky, leaves little to the imagination.

From the Moscow Times:

“There were two people in the bus who were throwing them out,” said delegate Ella Polyakova, who witnessed the incident. “We started to yell at them, and they shouted back saying the same fate awaits us.” (…)

Irina Novozhilova, head of the animal rights group Vita, said her organization along with several others will ask the Prosecutor General’s Office to open a criminal case in connection with animal cruelty.

“This is shocking to torture animals to achieve political goals,” Novozhilova said. “Those who organized this disgusting act must be found and punished.”

Sadly, it seems quite implausible that the prosecutor’s office would do anything in response to this incident – especially given that the police spent the next few days arresting the leaders of the opposition.  It is a very ugly and disappointing illustration of what has happened to political discourse in Russia.