by Serguei Novikov
The reaction on the war in Iraq could be describe as "silent protest". I am sure, that the number of those, who are against the war and want US defeat, is more, than in any other European or North American country -- about 90 per cent, while there are no demonstrations at all. Last Sunday in a very pro American TV program, supervised by Evgeny Kiseleov with rather pro US audience, people were asked: "do you think whether the US defeat in Iraq is in the Russian National interests". About 65 per cent of them responded, that it is. Then Kiseleov demonstrated President Putins speech in the city of Tambov, in which he argued the opposite and repeated the question, and the response was very much the same -- about 63 per cent. So anti American feelings are very high even among the pro American audience of this program. However, Russians are very reluctant to demonstrate even in spite of the unexpectedly encouraging example of the rest World. It may be explained by many reasons such as evident helplessness of staging protest in front of the well-guarded US embassy, the tradition to respond to any aggression by military force (as it was in Vietnam or the Middle East rather than by demonstrations, the reluctance to demonstrate at any occasion at all and so on. So two or three thousand in the anti-American meeting was the maximum reached by joint efforts of all parties.
The RCWP-RPC took part in the protest, though our people were not even aloud to speak there, but, frankly speaking, the initiative was given up to the CPRF. There were also meetings in other cities, but the situation was very much the same.
Now the bourgeois liberals are evidently encouraged by such a swift capture of Baghdad, Tigrit and other Iraqi cities. Many people were expecting a long battle for Baghdad, but it did not happen, and now the left and anti-US are trying to invent an explanation for the development, that varies from the presumption, that Saddam made up his mind not to expose the capital with its population to a continuous and murderous fighting, and to the claims, that Saddam is likely to make a deal with the US and deviated from any fighting for this reason. And though it is clear, that US will have many problems with Iraq, their military success is evident.
The general situation in Russia is rather quite. The capitalist offensive is going on, but in a very slow step-by-step way. For this reason evident displeasure of many people, suffering from higher prices and tariffs, does not result in any protest actions. Some people expect some changes in the consequence of the Iraq war, but even if they happen, it will hardly bring any substantial developments. And yet the "peaceful tendency" is reinforced by the forthcoming elections to the State Duma dew to be held next December.