Sunday, January 16, 2005

When Bush looked into Putin's soul, did he see gutting Social Security there? 

It seems so. Looks to me like we can learn from the Russians, too. "Direct action brings satisfaction," as RDF says.

Pensioners and veterans angered over the cutoff of welfare benefits clogged streets and paralyzed traffic in St. Petersburg, hometown to President Vladimir Putin, for a second day Sunday and the street demonstrations spread to other Russian cities.

Top government officials sought to shift the blame by accusing regional leaders of botching the management of new social programs, under which benefits such as free medicine and public transportation were replaced by a monthly government stipend.

Though St. Petersburg authorities promised to restore some benefits after 10,000 people jammed the center of Russia's second-largest city on Saturday, demonstrators returned Sunday to rally on Nevsky Prospect, again snarling traffic in the center of the city.

"Hitler stole our childhood, and Putin stole our declining years," declared a banner held aloft by one the aging protesters.

"Prices keep rising, and now they have canceled our benefits," said Yevgeniya Sidorova, 70. "Putin and his government want us to lie down and wait for death to come."

Others waved red flags, beat spoons against saucepans and chanted slogans calling for Putin to step down. "We are here to demand the right to life," said Zhanna Filonova, 61. A large contingent of police stood by, but did not intervene.

Several small orange tents went up at the rally in St. Petersburg. Orange was the symbolic color of the campaign run by Ukrainian President-elect Viktor Yushchenko whose backers occupied central Kiev for weeks and won a court decision to hold a new vote that was won by their candidate.

"These tents are a symbol of the fight for democracy, the unity of the people like in Ukraine," Alexander Bogdanov said.

Youth activists joined the mix Sunday. "We came here because the government humiliated senior citizens," said Semyon Borzenko, a member of a socialist youth group.

Police in St. Petersburg engaged in friendly conversation with the protesters. The police and military lost similar welfare benefits at the start of the year.

The rallies across Russian cities, many of which involved blockades of key highways, have put new pressure on Putin, who has seen little public opposition or protest in his tenure.

The rising tide of discontent prompted the authorities in many regions to restore some benefits.
(via AP)

I like that "right to life" angle, too.

corrente SBL - New Location
~ Since April 2010 ~

~ Since 2003 ~

The Washington Chestnut
~ current ~

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]


copyright 2003-2010

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?