The ubiquitous corruption and lack of accountability in Vladimir Putin’s Russia were, until recently, easy to sweep under the rug. But the relentless decline in oil prices is making the president’s political bets unsafe. Now the country’s problems are beginning to fester in plain view, giving the regime a tough choice: Start liberalizing or go for harsh repression.
The case of Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika will be a weather vane of what’s to come. He was justice minister when Putin became president in 2000, running, among other things, Russia’s vast prison system. In 2006, Putin made him prosecutor general. Apart from prosecuting cases on the state’s behalf, the prosecutor general’s office exercises control over all criminal investigations and coordinates the activities of all law enforcement bodies, making the prosecutor general one of the country’s most influential people. Continue reading
Ruling class parties using staged demonstrations with real effect are nothing new when living under a communist regime.
There were protests in over 57 cities in China, according to World Journal, a Chinese newspaper published outside of China.
A number of other Weibo users noted that many of the protesters were not local, did not have rail passes, and did not speak the local language. One Guangzhou resident suspected that they were sent from out of town to make trouble.
In many cities, police in uniform or other security forces kept the protesters in some semblance of order—in contrast to the usual role played by Chinese authorities, who crush any protest perceived as antigovernment.
The Hidden Hand
One Weibo user, attuned to the signs of Chinese political struggle, wrote, “Firstly, who can control armed police, plainclothes police, and public security all over the country? Secondly, who can control televisions all over the country to keep silent? Thirdly, who can control Sina Weibo and delete posts as soon as they appear? This someone must be the one that is behind these violent incidents all over the country.”
The most prominent theory of who the “someone” is, is hard-liners in the security and propaganda apparatus who are aligned with former regime leader Jiang Zemin; many owe their political legacy to the implementation of Jiang’s persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual practice.
Though some analysts and insiders indicated that arrangements for the upcoming leadership changeover this fall were settled, the recent absence of Xi Jinping, the presumptive next leader of the regime, and the dispute with Japan may have given this group an opening to exploit and push for greater power, according to analysts.
Full article: Behind China’s Anti-Japan Protests, the Hand of Officials (The Epoch Times)