Anti-Maidan, anatomy of a movement that does not exist
A big crowd hit the streets of Moscow. Some say 30, some 40 thousand. They were demonstrating against something that does not exist, and for something that does not exist. The media call them Anti-Maidan, but most of those who marched in the Russian capital did not even know why they was there.
- Tuesday, 24 February 2015
"Why are you here today?" Asks the journalist from Dozhd TV to a guy who took part in the great event called Anti-Maidan. "I was forced by him" he answers pointing at his friend. "He did not want to come alone." "And you, why are you here?". "The dean ordered it. Five volunteers per group. So we were assembled, given these posters and came here". "But at least, do you know what it says?". "A thief has to sit in prison, and then there's the photo on a guy that looks like Navalny, and the second I don't know". "And do you agree?". "No, I don’t". "So why are you holding this poster?". "Because I have nowhere to put it"
The Anti-Maidan "movement" has an identity crisis.
A brand differentiation
Anti-Maidan simply does not exist. It is not a movement, not a part of society manifesting for or against something it believes in; it is nothing comparable to the EuroMaidan it is aimed to oppose to. Anti-Maidan is a brand differentiation, but the product - as the producer - is always the same.
Anti-Maidan was founded in January by Dmitry Sablin, a member of the Duma known for his warm support to the law against "gay propaganda". "All street movements, all 'color revolutions' lead to bloodshed," Sablin said. "And children, women and the elderly are those who primarily suffer."
Sablin has used the image of Alexander Zaldostanov, aka "the Surgeon", head of the powerful gang of bikers "Wolves of the Night" and a close friend of Putin. Zaldostanov was the star of the media circus that accompanied the annexation of the Crimea. Marching at the head of his motorized "wolves", handed the peninsula to Putin and all Russians, like a conqueror.
The "movement" can also count on the support of the Combat Brotherhhod, a veterans association, and the Young Guard, the youth group that supports Putin.
A movement that does not exist
Anti-Maidan is not a popular movement, but a political organization that opposes the spontaneous people’s movement. It has its headquarters, its executive committee and a membership base, according to the agency Tass.
"We are standing together in order to prevent ‘color revolutions’, street disorder, chaos, and anarchy. We will not allow those forces in our cities”, it is written in its manifesto. Sablin added that Anti-Maidan will not use violence, but "in some cases, if we see that someone is starting a fire or trying to burn tires then we will pull these people out of the crowd ourselves and transfer them to the police."
The fake Anti-Maidan "movement" aims to stop popular movements in Russia on the type of Euromaidan. In short, something that does not exist in reality aims to fight against a threat that does not exist in reality. How? Bringing fake trooped protesters to the streets.
Grigory Turmanov, a journalist at the Kommersant, wrote that he had counted at least 200 people out of the House of Trade Unions in line to receive 300 rubles payment, while Natasha Zotova of Novaya Gazeta tweeted an undercover footage of herself receiving the money. The product, as I said, is always the same, and the producer as well. The propaganda of the Kremlin needs to diversify its offerings to reach every layer of the population.