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Sat Aug 10, 2019, 09:11 AM

Kebabs and rock music: Moscow's ruse for luring the young away from politics

Kebabs and rock music: Moscow's ruse for luring the young away from politics
‘Spoiler’ festivals are being held in Russia to try to keep young protesters off the streets

Once there were bread and circuses. Now there are DJ sets and kebabs.

As thousands of Russians prepare for opposition protests for the third straight weekend in Moscow, the city government is laying on festivals that it hopes will lure young people away from political activity.

The dubiously named Meat&Beat, to be held this weekend, is described as a “musical-gastronomic festival” – and also typifies Moscow’s embrace of hipster aesthetics as a salve for the irritations of one-party rule.

It follows a similar festival called Shashlik Live, pairing grilled meat with “all your favourite Russian rock musicians” that appeared last week as if from thin air. Organisers claim that they attracted 305,000 visitors, a widely disputed total that would make the last-minute cookout one-and-a-half times larger than Glastonbury.

The parties are part of a broad and energetic effort by Russia’s government to deflate protests against the disqualification of independent candidates in Moscow’s municipal elections.

Since the recent round of protests began police have detained more than 2,000 people, charged 11 with rioting, opened a money laundering case against anti-corruption researchers, threatened a family with taking away their infant son, reviewed the debt and military service records of protesters and made liberal use of batons in preserving the peace.

But the so-called “spoiler festivals” are also indicative of a government unlikely to make concessions and focused instead on tactics to win over young people and those sceptical of the protests.

“It is an attempt to distract people with a festival, a positive spectacle,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, a political scientist. “The opposition may believe it is stupid, and of course there were not 300,000 people last week, but there are many people in Moscow who are neutral or negative to the protests. This is an appeal to them.”


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Reply Kebabs and rock music: Moscow's ruse for luring the young away from politics (Original post)
dajoki Aug 2019 OP
Turbineguy Aug 2019 #1

Response to dajoki (Original post)

Sat Aug 10, 2019, 09:16 AM

1. Bread and Circus.

It's been tried before.

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