I sometimes like watching russian “reality show” StopXam (xam, from russian, translates to cad, tha one, who is rude, careless and selfish). The show is about citizens with initiative, who fight against road rules abusing drivers-parking and blocking traffic, driving down the sidewalk trying to pass traffic jams and so on.
Some people call the country Wild Russia. No doubt-what else can you call it, where officials are corrupt or dont care, where people project their power by knowing others in institutions. Thus “the more people you know, the powerful you are and the more you can do”. But a group of citizens from putinist movement “Nashi” (“ours”) tried to change it. (The most ironic thing is that persons from the movement fight against those having protectorate and corruptive links in the system, that created the movement). They started asking drivers to drive off and not block the traffic, not to park cars where it is not allowed (on the sidewalk, in the lane)-doing everything in a very polite, but persistive manner. If there were no drivers in cars or they didnt obey, they would stick a half-windshield size sticker, saying “I dont fucking care, I drive how I like”. Later they started blocking the sidewalks to cars, politely asking the disobeyers to go back. No doubt such actions caused certain reactions-from negotiations, to threats to physical violence to trying to drive over the road-blockers. But noone would get an exception-diplomats, politicians, rich businessmen, (ex)maffia members-no one. So no doubt reactions were threats, shotguns, baseball bats, although the activists didnt pull back, called the police and the offenders would get punished for traffic violations, for illegal guns. So, why am I writing about this?
The main thing is, that such initiatives are forms of democracy-you risk your health, you stand against so that rules abusers, that are not taken care of by police, are given borders to their “I do what I want” attitude. You do it not only for yoursel, but for others, you fight it to show, that everyone is equal and everyone must obey, you propose yourself as a representative of others, that not only talks, but does and does it not of his selfishness, but of selfless reasons (if you teach the abusers, other non abusing citizens, including the one, who takes action, will benefit from it). Lack of initiative usually means, that everyone is too afraid, too busy to act or they simply dont believe, that anything would change. Initiative means otherwise. And, remembering the rocketing levels of corruption, inequality, abuse and snub in Russia and ineffectiveness of its officials, there is no doubt, that people want changes but are too afraid to reach for them or dont believe anything can be changed. Proving that hope can become a reality, can encourage others to seek initiative too and thus finally it might cause a chain reaction which would topple over the Putins (and exsoviet) regime as it is based on “friends”, “corporations” and “deals between ours” (what is actually the symptoms of corruption) and doesnt care about ordinary citizen, whom StopXam is protecting. Thats why such movement is a lit match near a stack of hay and all neccessary control should be taken by the regime that it doesnt go out of control. This could be a reason why recently russian authorities outlawed the StopXam movement-I wouldnt be surprised at all. And I personally am very happy that such movements exist in Russia-this means not everything is lost, there is hope, that one day we would have a powerful but friendly neighbour, not the one that every time looks for opportunity to put some control on- and get benefits from its neighbours.