Thank you, the Irish nation

How is the KGB orchestra related to St.Patrick’s day? Read on to find out.

Besides the traditional painting, sculpture, installation, film or opera, the modern concept of art includes Japanese stone gardens, Chinese tea ceremony, and the elaborate rituals of cannibal tribes around the cooking and eating of their enemies. Today, art is almost anything, or, as one literature professor from Oxford wrapped it up, “Art is anything that you  consider as art, even if it is art just for you and no one else”.

Today, I’d like to entertain you with a nice example of the art of politics, of governing the masses in a situation when the masses believe they are not governed.

St.Patrick’s day. Thank you, the Irish nation for this.

As you probably know, Russia is not the kind of country where you can go outside with a poster saying you are unhappy. You can carry your unhappy face all year round, no problem, but not any poster. It is, actually, a smiling face that may get you in trouble.

With posters banned, some of the more radical elements have started putting white ribbons on their jackets, and it took some time for the authorities to sort out the white ribbon meaning, but now a white ribbon can get you to a police station in no time.

And all this makes a lot of young people unhappy. How do you make the steam go out for this boiling crowd of young dissented people?

St.Patrick’s day. Thank you, the Irish people, for helping the Russian authorities to keep it nice and “stable” here.

The St.Partick’s parade is organised jointly by the Russian government and Irish Embassy. It is a bit awkward, because of all the people attending the parade, it is perhaps just the ambassador and a couple of people from the Embassy who are, actually Irish.

You see, the Irish ambassador looks a bit uncomfortable in his cashmere coat and – let’s admit it – silly green hat. Actually, all of the organisers look a bit uncomfortable, more so in the groin areas. Who wouldn’t, looking at this crowd and the cheering columns?

The crowd consists of young (or not) Russians who cheer at the possibility to get out, play in the dirty snow, do something together without the risk of being arrested. Just a few days ago police detained a few guys giving away cards with innocent greetings and wishes to people strolling through Moscow’s main pedestrian street. This winter, police was fiercely dispersing groups of young people playing snowballs in St.Petersburg. So, these chances to get together safely are rare and valued.

Police is everywhere. Who knows, perhaps, this green guy would take out a poster about political prisoners at a crucial point during the celebrations?

St.Patrick does not seem to be impressed, does he?

But a cake is incomplete until a cherry is placed on top of it.

Yes, this is the Orchestra of the FSB, formerly KGB, leading the way. Or, paving the way for St.Patrick. I didn’t know that the FSB was so pro-Irish. Perhaps, it dates back to the Soviet times of KGB – IRA special relationship.

The art of politics, when you use a holiday of a nation thousands of miles away to work for your agenda locally, is at its best.

Images sourced from this guy here.


  1. ‘As you probably know, Russia is not the kind of country where you can go outside with a poster saying you are unhappy’- Russia is the kind of country where people can find a billion of reasons not to be happy and always blame their government for their hangover. Probably just got used not to take responsibility. Now it’s very popular to search for anything bad in things connected with the government, laws, Putin, police etc. even when nothing is wrong with them in some particular case. I’m not saying everything is perfect here (of course not) I just hate tendentiousness and prejudice.
    And I feel much better when crowds are controlled by the police. I was really scared when there was no police when we were celebrating Xmas in one EU capital and people burned fireworks right in the crowd – a lot of people were injured that night. When we were celebrating the NY on the Red Square in MSK no one could do the same and the police was keeping the safe distance between the crowd and fireworks.
    If something happens with this cute guy in green the people from Bolotnaya square will be the first to blame the police and Putin. If nothing happens – too many policemen. Good position for the opposition 🙂

    1. The hunt for circumstances outside one’s control to explain personal failings is built into our national character by the Great National Idea concept. I will write a post on it one day. Comparing safety in Moscow and EU capitals is easy via crime statistics. Personally, there can be a number of “cases” when one felt unsafe in London and safe in Moscow. There’s general everyday safety and “spot” safety, the latter being much more “advanced” in totalitarian countries, because it is easy-to-organise. The worst thing that can happen to the cute guy with big ears is that he’d never grow up ))

      1. This is what I meant – I fully understand we have problems but have nothing against the police presence in such cases. Understanding problems doesn’t mean seeing everything in dark colors and walking with ‘I’m unhappy’ poster. Better to walk in orange coat!)
        No, the worst thing – if his ears will grow))

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