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Monday, May 28, 2007

What happened in Moscow?

Can anyone out there work out from the news reports exactly who was throwing the punches in Moscow on Sunday? I should say that I don't think it was as such a good thing that Peter Tatchell and that bloke from Right Said Fred were punched; indeed quite the opposite. It also need hardly be said that it is difficult, given Vladimir Putin's other policies, to see the Russian government's general opposition to homosexual activity as evidence that a moral commonweal is being constructed east of the Urals. I would nonetheless like to know who was responsible for the violence. The BBC rather unhelpfully lumps all the anti-protesters together as 'right-wing and orthodox extremists', or 'Orthodox extremists and nationalists'. (In another report, they're 'ultra-nationalists and members of the Russian Orthodox Church', which is a little clearer.) The Telegraph goes with 'nationalists and extreme Russian Orthodox believers', but if you click on the 'in pictures' bit, you'll note that, while a bloke in a T-shirt punched Mr Tatchell, a wee lady in a headscarf ... threw some water at him. Pravda (no, I don't have that much confidence in full and fair reportage from them, either) omits to mention the violence, but has some amusing lines about 'bellicose babushkas'. In short, fairly obviously - does anyone out there know if the violence was the preserve of the 'nationalists', or did the Orthodox get in on the act? Or do right-wingers identify themselves as orthodox Orthodox in Russia? (And what did the Polish media say about it all?)

Also note the 'funny' headlines on the right of the Pravda page. I'm not quite sure what it is they say about modern Russia, but I'm sure it's significant.