Russians focus on neighbouring countries at the rally on the occasion of the annexation of Crimea in Moscow.
Before the rally and concert “We Are Together!” people started to gather at Vasilievsky Slope. Thousands were trying to get there from the streets near the Kremlin, but most entries were blocked out by the police.
(…) President Putin came to the stage. The crowd greeted him with shouts. Participants began to push and elbow, trying to see him on the stage. But most of them hardly managed to take a closer look at their leader due to a lot of cameras and flags in people’s hands. “Russia! Russia!” the crowd was chanting.
Mr Putin said Russians had demonstrated ‘composure and patriotism in support of the people of Crimea and Sevastopol returning to their native shores’.
“When it comes to Crimea it is not just about some territory, even a strategic one,” Putin said to cheers from the crowd. “It is about millions of Russian people, millions of our compatriots, who need our help and support. It is about something which makes us a united people and nation.”
Russians ‘will strengthen our statehood, our country,’ Putin said. “We will overcome the difficulties that we have so easily created for ourselves during recent times. And we will of course overcome those problems and difficulties that they are trying to throw in from outside,” he promised.
After his speech rally participants shouted:”Russia! Russia! Putin! Putin!”
“Ole-ole-ole! Crimea is ours! Let’s go for Poland and Finland!” a lot of people chanted.
The rally and concert aired by state-controlled TV was perfect. The large Moskvoretski bridge and Vasilievsky Slope were full of people carrying Russian colours, St George flags, party flags, placards ‘I Am Proud Of My Vountry‘, ‘Crimea Is Ours!’, etc.
But in fact, a lot of participants admitted that they had turned up against their own free will. Shortly before the event public institutions and state agencies were ordered to send ‘delegates’ to take part in the rally.
”We don’t need this concert, we have to come just to check the box,” Moscow metro workers say honestly. The noise is surging: people are seeking to sign the attendance list and find their curators from the mayor’s office in the crowd.
This causes a terrible rush: people are pushing and shoving. Someone hits me in the ribs, and this is not an exception.
“(…) Slavic peoples were always in unity and they will be in unity forever! We will annex all of them – Belarusians, Ukrainians, Poles, and Balts!” an older man with a flag ‘The revival of Russian spirituality‘ tells me. “But we will never be at one with Ukrainians. And others will not agree. But nobody will ask them!”
Actor Dmitry Kharatyan, a host of the event, recited a short, but very well-prepared poem, which ended with the words “One of our Vladimirs baptized Rus, the other got back its cradle of baptism!”
“When Pushkin was born, Crimea was Russian,” another actor stresses.
“So was Poland,” a man in the cap of the Cossack troops says.
“When Chaikovsky wrote Swan Lake, Crimea was Russian!” another hostess, actress Olga Timofeyeva, continues.
“And Poland too ..” the Cossack said and looked up at the screen.
”When the French built the Eiffel Tower, Crimea was Russian!” Kharatyan shouts.
“Poland was Russian too,” Kozak raised his voice and his eyes narrowed dangerously.
”Finland belonged to Russia as well!” a skinny young man with a camera – as one might think, a great expert on geopolitics – says.
Kozak smirked and smacked him on the shoulder.
“It’s okay, man, give us time, and we’ll win both Poland and Finland back!”
Then he pulled a curved wooden bottle from his pocket and poured strong tea into its cap.
Reviewed by Cez/MS