On this day twenty-one years ago thousands of Muscovites came to the building of their parliament (the “White House”) defending the Gorbachev democracy against the pro-communist coup. Then, after two days and two nights of confrontation, the Muscovites won. The putsch began on Monday morning. On Wednesday evening the putschist leaders were arrested.

Today the Muscovites came here again – to lay white flowers at the memorial where three young people had died at that time and whose names are carved now on the stele: Dmitriy Komar, Ilya Krichevskiy, Vladimir Usov. The white colour is the sign of protest against the present-day regime in Russia and all those who came with the flowers were closely observed by the police. A young woman came wearing a balaclava.  The mask was orange in colour but everybody understood that it was also a protest: the woman was expressing her solidarity with the Pussy Riot group who had been sentenced to two years in jail while staging an anti-Putin performance in such balaclavas. The young woman was immediately held up by the police, because, as it was explained by the policeman in the rank of lieutenant colonel, it was “prohibited to wear masks in the street.”

Today I have read about the software Prisma which is used by the Russian authorities to quickly analyse the communication in social networks and to assess how the internet community reacts to political and social events. The software scans about 60 million sources (including blog posts) in real time: only a few minutes pass from the moment when an opinion is uploaded to the time of its classification. The analysts know immediately what internet users on Facebook, Twitter, LiveJournal, etc. think of any event. In this connection it may be reminded that last month in the south of Ukraine joint maneuvers of Ukrainian, Byelorussian and Russian troops were held which were solving the task of coping with the “mutineers” who were going to destabilize the situation in the country…

Twenty-one years have passed… It’s quite a different country now…


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