Putin on your street

This year the Women’s Day in Russia has been marked by discussion on why the recent aggressive form of feminism has been rejected by the Russian public


The president of Russia has spent an hour of his time on the street where I live. There is a mounted police regiment (the only one in Moscow) stationed at the far end of the street, in a 19th-century compound, stables and a covered riding manege included.

President Vladimir Putin has mounted a black horse (he’s known to be a decent rider) and made several rings in the manege together with some police ladies on white horses. The ladies constitute at least a third of the police regiment, and I see them from my balcony quite often, with a bit of envy.

That, of course, was a typical political gesture on a very popular public holiday — Women’s Day on March 8, last week.

This year the Women’s Day in Russia has been marked by an unusually heated discussion on the subject that I believe I’ve been mentioning a couple of times in this column: Why the recent, exceptionally aggressive form of feminism (mostly known as the #MeToo movement) has been naturally rejected by the Russian public. That discussion was quite spontaneous, without any prodding from the authorities. The politicians, in fact, tried to outskirt any controversy on the subject, hence Putin’s visit to the horse-riding ladies in uniform.

But the television and numerous websites have unanimously picked up that phenomenon: The more Russian ladies are learning about the fury of the feminists of the West, the more they demonstrate their bewilderment and disgust.

There was an illustrated feature in the Kommersant, telling us about the Russian female sumo wrestling team.

You may not believe me, but in the year 2018 that team became the world’s champion, defeating the Japanese rival!

And, still, these powerful ladies, one after another, were telling the reporter that in fact they stayed fragile, vulnerable and in need of a strong man to stroke their back.

That’s the result of seven decades of Communist rule, said one of the columnists. The Soviet women has been mercilessly granted real and complete equality at the time, becoming masters of the hardest “manly” professions, which caused a powerful surge “back to femininity”.

And that anti-feminism also is the result of the current neo-feminist wave, sweeping the world, that wave being so obviously foreign to Russia and so obviously well funded and orchestrated from abroad, that it causes revulsion.

All we have in that regard is a couple of dozen very active lady bloggers, and it were mostly them who became the targets of derision this March.

The Russian feminism is secondhand, said yet another columnist. The agenda, the style, the typical slang have been so foreign that they do not belong here.

You cannot simply translate an article written somewhere in California and expect it to be relevant to a Russian town. So the majority discusses actively the local ladies’ problems, but that discussion has nothing to do with the man-bashing movement, pretending to be truly global.

Women have proven that they can be anything, even the brilliant special forces operatives, writes a professional military man. But the men are not so versatile, they cannot raise children, he goes on.

So the 19th-century feminist craze has resulted in doubling the burden on women, and achieved nothing much else.

Women have lost in that game, men did too, not to mention family and children. So we are on our way back to tradition, and Russia is glad to lead in that regard.

My own quick study of the subject tells me that in fact, things were not so optimistic at the start.

The Russian society has initially, in early 2000s, fallen victim of a primitive technology of brainwashing, targeting mothers with their protective instincts.

It was a time when suddenly everyone started talking about rapes by the terrible paedophiles. The media began to discuss teachers, trainers, family friends and even fathers molesting children.

And then realisation dawned on some sober thinkers. Where all these too-numerous paedophiles have been hiding before, and why there are suddenly so many of them, the thinkers wondered.

And what do we have as a result: No peace with our children at school, in the street or even at home, and some jokers trying to introduce European laws allowing various commissions to take your children from you and place them into orphanages. Who profits from devastating our society that used to be kind and caring, the question was asked.

So the public was in a way ready for news about the new, exceptionally evil kind of feminists, openly stating that men are basically evil, and has to be brought to heel by any kind of legal and illegal means.

The only result that #MeToo has achieved in Russia is that “harassment” and “sexism” become a favoured topics for comedy shows.

  • Dmitry Kosyrev is an author of 8 novels and a book of short stories, as well as a columnist for 2 Moscow publications. Orientalist by education (Moscow University), he has a special love for Malaysia. The views expressed are of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the stand of the newspaper’s owners and editorial board.