"Prominent Russian novelists and poets led a street protest by more than 10,000 people in Moscow without obtaining a permit, and the police did not intervene. The demonstrations skirted the law by remaining silent and carrying no posters, even though the demonstrations had clearly been organized as an anti-President Putin rally." This was Sunday. People are unhappy with Putin's return to power and the rigged elections.
This news clip from the Denver Post, 5/14/2012, intrigued me for two reasons. Novelists and poets leading the protest, taking a risk, and to me, showing the importance of the written word in Russia. How many of us would be part of a serious protest? Last week's demonstration provoked violent reaction from the police and many were injured and arrested. This week showed a different approach, no banners, just a quiet march. Boris Akunin, a writer was quoted as saying, "The point of this walk is simple. We have to teach the authorities to deal with these people politely and to show respect, but not with a stick." I have read Mr. Akunin's mysteries, set in pre-revolutionary Russia and was surprised to see him quoted as part of this march.
I have a friend who is visiting Moscow this week. I hope to have her as a guest blogger when she returns.
Poetry has always had a special place in countries such as Eastern Europe and South America. Since poetry is ambiguous, allusions to political problems can be written without clear criticisms of current regimes. Pablo Neruda, from Chile was one, although some of his poetry was very direct .
Photo attribution from: The Guardian, 13 May 2012.
Thoughts on poetry, novels, used for protest, song lyrics as well?