The King is dead, long live the King!

Many people were wondering what will happen in Russia after the presidental elections next year. Those who were down-to-earth were sure that Putin would come back to power. Symbolically, because he’s ruled the country during Medvedev’s presidency anyway. It’s been obvious already for couple of years that the Russian democracy was gone long before it even really started existing. We could have had illusions in the 90’s, but since Putin is in charge the country has turned its back on democracy completely. The thing is that at least untill now the Kremlin used to try to keep up appearances, so that all ignorants in Europe and America wouldn’t notice how far from democracy the system really is. Now, after the official information that Putin will run for presidency again, the real face of Russian politics has been revealed to the world. And what? And nothing, of course. The hypocrisy of the world is bigger than I expected. Merkel, Sarkozy, Obama shake Putin’s hand, brag about better and better relations with Russia and of course gain a lot in return. No one cares about Russian journalists, those who were against the regime and died shot or disappeared over the past 10 years, no one cares of the never-ending drama in Chechnya, no one cares of the level of life of an average Russian. They attack Iraq, they attack Gaddafi, but Putin is okay, he is a cool guy, a good partner. Welcome to our world…

People demonstrating in Kaliningrad, March 2010

Everyone in Russia knows that Putin will win the elections as the result will be manipulated again. But it doesn’t mean that they agree with it, that they don’t care. After my last short stay in Kaliningrad I am sure there’s more and more people who see the injustice in their country, who would like to change something. But still, they are afraid. And I can understand that. The problem is also that the Russians in Kaliningrad are very specific, more independent, travelling to Poland, Lithuania and Germany, the majority of them knows Europe very well and they can’t be manipulated so easily. The situation somewhere in the middle of nowhere, thousands kilometers away from Moscow is of course different. But in Kaliningrad people already tried to express their dissatisfaction with the system, I remember demonstrations of thousands of people against the governor and Putin himself in 2010. As a result, now Moscow doesn’t agree to sign the agreement with the EU to allow the Russians from Kaliningrad to travel to Poland and Lithuania without visas, same as to allow Lithuanians and Poles living near the border (including Gdansk 150 km away) to travel to Kaliningrad without visas. Officially they claim that it would be unfair if only people from Kaliningrad could cross the border without problems whereas the rest of Russia can’t. In reality it is obvious that Moscow doesn’t want the Kaliningrad people to become too “European”, too close to EU. And because of such policy we all lose. I’m waiting for a day when I can finally visit my friends without asking for a visa, without finding a way to get a multiply one (which is very hard), there’s only 150km between us and I’m sick of this iron wall that has been created, we have the 21st century for God’s sake…

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