December 13th, 2008


LiveJournaler heckles Russian President!

I was reading this story about a young heckler giving Russian President Medvedev a hard time during the Constitution Day celebrations in Moscow, and noticed the name of Roman Dobrokhotov, who is a well known activist in LJ's Russian community.

(A note: Roman is actually one of those I heard would be an excellent choice for the LJ Cyrillic-language representative.)

AP says that Roman said:
"Why are you listening to him? . . . He's violated the rights and freedoms of people and citizens!"

... but Reuters was more to the point in their coverage, when it pointed out that a big part of the heckling regarded a rewriting of parts of the Russian constitution that extended the presidential term, and mentioned some of  the meat of what Roman said:

"The amendments are a disgrace . . . There are no real elections. It is a disgrace."

"When Medvedev started to speak about how great our constitution was I couldn't take it any longer. He is talking complete rubbish," the heckler, Roman Dobrokhotov, later told Reuters by telephone from a local police station.

"This event seemed interesting to me because while they rape our constitution, officials are all talking about how much they love it," he said. "There is a truly fantastic cynicism in this and I wanted to look them in the eye."

Roman only managed to get the very start of the incident on videotape, which he's posted to YouTube, but a more complete video of the heckling up to the point where he was removed from the room is available at his journal, as well as his post (in Russian) on the subject. It's got a longer, more complete video of the heckling up to the point where they removed him from the room. (And yes, it takes a while to load, as you might suspect.)

It's not always a very safe thing in Russia to speak out. Lots of journalists get killed that way, but it's good to see that someone is doing it... and to know that in a significant cultural way, despite the language difference, they're one of us.

A bit of info on Obama's Energy Secretary pick...

Here's a video from UC Berkeley of Nobel Prize winning scientist / current head of Lawrence Berkeley National Labs Dr. Steven Chu, who seems to be on-track to be the next Energy Secretary, addressing how government can deal with global warming.

For those seeking additional details, you may also want to review this video, which appears to be a more detailed, longer version of the same presentation, that addresses issues like nuclear and coal energy, amongst other topics. Lots of focus on energy conservation, a smarter national energy grid, the California-like decoupling of energy prices from power company profits, creating stable markets for technological development, funding specific research, etc. Good stuff...!