Putin’s worst nightmare
Julia Ioffe at The New Republic on the Kiev protests: “It is [Russian President] Vladimir Putin’s worst nightmare. The last time that this many people came out to the Independence Square (the Maidan) in Kiev, nine years ago, protesters undid the election of Victor Yanukovich and brought to power a Western-friendly government. In the process, they scared the living daylights out of Putin. …
“The reforms he began at the beginning of his term to limit electoral competition, sideline his critics, disable civil society and atomize the population took on a renewed urgency … If it can happen in Kiev, in other words, it can happen in Moscow. …
“Putin is tightening the screws, because this is what stability looks like and that, to Putin, by all accounts a man deeply traumatized by the chaotic, painful collapse of the Soviet Union, is worth any price. And the more unstable Ukraine gets, the tighter he’ll turn them. Just you wait.”
Another Putin nightmare
From The Borowitz Report: “SOCHI —Minutes after the Russian men’s hockey team fell to Finland 3-1, a devastated President Vladimir Putin told reporters, ‘This must be what an actual election feels like.’
“Reliving the horrible experience of watching his team lose to the Finns, the Russian leader said, ‘As the game went on, I started thinking to myself, “My God, I have no idea what the outcome of this is going to be.” I had never experienced that feeling before. It was ghastly.’ ”
Loving the motherland
Lindsey O’Brien at Ms. Blog: “Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova may have been freed from jail late last year, but they are far from winning their battle against Russian injustice. After spending two years incarcerated for a ‘punk prayer’ performance criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin, the grrrls are right back to protesting with their new song, ‘Putin Teaches Us to Love Our Motherland,’ which upset government officials.
“Trouble began again for Pussy Riot on Tuesday in Sochi, host city of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, when Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were roughly detained while on their way to meet with journalists. Police suspected the women of a theft that had occurred at their hotel. Tolokonnikova tweeted during the arresting process:
“ ‘They dragged me on the floor in the hall of the department, hands tied behind back and thrown to the floor. Putin will teach you to love the motherland!’ ”
Black Youth Project writes about Michael Dunn’s conviction for attempted second-degree murder for shooting into an SUV full of teenagers after arguing about their loud music. Teenager Jordan Davis was killed:
“In response to a Florida jury not finding a man guilty of first-degree murder in relation to the death of a 17-year-old teenager, Twitter users have responded with the #DangerousBlackKids hashtag. Most of the images feature black children who are anything but dangerous, including 4-year-old Anala Beevers (pictured below), Mensa’s youngest and newest member.”
On gender and politics
Gloria Steinem in an interview in Newsweek on our polarized politics:
“Q: How do we bridge this chasm between opposing factions in religion or politics? For example, it would likely be quite difficult to convince someone who is adamantly pro-choice to change sides.
“A: You could point out that the Catholic Church approved of and regulated abortion until the 1800s. And when they stopped, it wasn’t because they thought it was a sin, but because Napoleon wanted more soldiers and made a deal with Pope Pius IX. So part of it is reporting and reading. We treat it as if it’s off-limits. We need to look at the politics of religion.”
Compiled by Greg Victor (firstname.lastname@example.org).