Irish Examiner view: Intolerance alive in US and Russia

Irish Examiner view: Intolerance alive in US and Russia

People stand in front of police officers during a protest against the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow, Russia. Picture: AP 

It may seem, though it is not, incongruous to link the looming Trump impeachment hearings and the weekend protests across Russia against Vladimir Putin’s dictatorship. It is not too hard to argue that without one you get, or invite, the other. As the Washington events of January 6 showed, democracy can be a more brittle thing than is imagined. Subsequent events showed that America’s well-ordered, committed democracy is robust and can withstand challenge. So far.

The weekend events in Russia show that for now at least, a well-ordered, committed dictatorship can withstand challenge too. That is underlined by concerns about the well-being of the 3,000 plus protesters arrested on Saturday. The Kremlin has not commented, probably a wise decision as what transpired was indefensible. The Kremlin provided “alternative facts” too. Reuters reported at least 40,000 people protested in Moscow, but Russia’s interior ministry put the number at just 4,000.

A less dramatic but as significant a conflict is under way in America where Republicans are censuring colleagues who chose not to support Trump. Arizona Republicans censured Cindy McCain who “wore the censure like a badge of honour”. The GOP footsoldiers are enforcing loyalty to Trump, even though the November election saw staunchly Republican Arizona vote for President Biden.

Intolerance is alive in America, just as it is in Russia.

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