“Alea iacta est“
(“The die is cast” – Julius Caesar)
Continuing with our task of “Getting to know” this new Russian luminary, Egor Zhukov, the latest in a long tradition of Russian political dissidents who protest against the government, as a sort of way of life. Zhukov was accused (and convicted) of a rather serious breach of public order and inciting to riots. Zhukov is now in a position to present himself as the chosen successor to already-spent-goods Alexei Navalny.
Although the court was merciful to Egor’s tender years and gave him a suspended sentence, the boy has already crossed the line, in a way. He is now a convicted criminal within the Russian system. This is the first step that a Russian dissident must take before qualifying for government funding. The American government, that is to say.
Realistically, unless the Russian political situation changes beyond recognition, none of these guys can count on getting elected by actual voters — well, maybe a few of them, to some local posts, or whatnot. The sad fact is, that the vast majority of the Russian people do not care for, and will not vote for, neo-Liberal economics, Libertarianism, Hyper-Capitalism, or anything that smacks of the Yeltsin years. If anything, most Russians, if given a chance, would return to the rampant Socialism of the Soviet era. Hence, as a right-wing Libertarian and neo-Yeltsinite, Egor Zhukov has almost zero chance of ever seeing any real power, or finding a real position of influence within the existing “regime”, especially now that he has burned his bridges to it.
For Russian dissidents, once the dice has been tossed (which he did) their only hope of ever seeing the inside of the Kremlin, depends on whether or not the U.S. can pull off a regime-change coup within Russia. Hence, like Nemtsov or Navalny before him, Zhukov is fated to spend the rest of his working life readying himself for that fatal day, just like the bridesmaids in the Biblical parable. Except in this case, the Christ they await must come riding in, not on an ass, but on an Abrams tank!
With that Intro, we now continue with the crowd-sourced comments, what people know or don’t know about this new character in the Reality Show that is Russian politics.
What Do We Know About This Guy?
Commenter Y7 posts this: Egor Zhukov is studying in his fourth year in the “Political Science” Department of the Higher School of Economics (HSE). He was admitted to the HSE based on winning second prize in the Olympiad on the topic of Sociology. [yalensis: In my earlier post I mistakenly wrote that his topic was science.]
Egor is a Muscovite, he was born July 28, 1998.
Egor has his own channel on youtube, he has over 115,000 subscribers and more than 10 million views. He created the channel in 2015. Egor is also present on Instagram, VKontakte, and Twitter. In February of 2019 Egor Sergeevich Zhukov ran for a Deputy seat in the Moscow City Duma. He ran on Gudkov’s Party ticket and was on the ballot in 4 different suburbs (okrug). In June Egor withdrew his candidacy. Why? In short, he figured that he did not have enough supporters; in his own words, “I did not find sufficient support among my electorate.”
Naturally, Egor Zhukov did not distance himself from political events. He participated in various actions, including the meeting of July 27, 2019. After that meeting he was detained (by police) according to Article 212, part 2 of the Legal Codex of the Russian Federation; and remained in detention until September 2019. [yalensis: The actual arrest occurred on August 3, 2019.]
“Participation in mass disorders accompanied by violence, pogroms, fires, destruction of property, use of firearms or explosives, poisons, or anything that can harm other objects or present a harm to bystanders; and also the employment of armed resistance to the representatives of law and order.”
Anybody convicted by this statute can expect to face 3-8 years in prison. However, the newspaper The Vyshka [student newspaper of HSE] reports that Zhukov’s guilt was not proved. [yalensis: well, it was proved well enough to satisfy the judge, as it turns out].
Egor’s fans support him actively, and not just on the Internet, but also on the streets.
Commenter Maxim Isaev: Egor Zhukov is an ordinary young man who, after graduating from school, was accepted into the HSE. He was raised just by his mother, as the father, a Major-General in the police, abandoned the family when the boy was just 4 years old. The mother struggled to raise the money needed to get her son an education. [yalensis: If this is true, then there might be something Freudian going on in the young man’s rejection of, and psychological need to battle against, authority?]
Egor himself struggled to earn money, even as a minor. Egor organized his own internet projects, and garnered 30,000 subscribers (since then many more thousands). [yalensis: And, as mentioned before, in Russia one can actually earn a decent living as a paid protester. Navalny being the proof of that pudding.]
The Actual Arrest and Detention
[This happened roughly a week after the demonstration, as the coppers were out there rounding up the usual suspects]:
On August 3, 2019 Egor, along with a school friend [Anton], was strolling through Moscow. Since it was raining on that day, the two lads kept going inside from one place to another. On Sretenka Street they ate in a cafe (there is a bill to prove this), but when they emerged onto the Boulevard ring, they were stopped by some cops and loaded into a bus.
When the mother of the minor (friend), Anton, arrived at the police station, she was able to take part in the investigation, fortunately. Because the investigator more than once attempted to exceed his authority and (take statements) from Egor Zhukov that the latter was not obliged to say [e.g., had the right to remain silent?]
As a consequence, this remarkable document appeared [screenshot of the charges against Zhukov, alleging that he had addressed a mob of 10,000 protesters chanting slogans such as “WE are the government!”]
It remains to be seen, who is lying…
[to be continued]