December 19th, 2011

ljbyline1

A new meaning to 'Russian Winter' #Russia

A winter day in northern Russia, 2009

IN OUTSIDERS, the words 'Russian Winter' provoke fear and fascination: fear of extreme cold; fascination with what it must feel like to experience it. To Russians, it is something they have grown up with. In that respect, it is something comforting, and until, the mild Decembers and Januaries of some recent years, unchanging. 

Yet the idea of coming change has led some commentators to start describing the post-election protests in Moscow and elsewhere as the 'Russian Winter'. The phrase is inspired by the need for news media to call a new phenomenon something short and simple. It is supposed to echo the 'Arab Spring'.  For many reasons, it is something distinct from those revolutions, but that does not mean it is not significant.

I have explained why I think so in an entry on the New Statesman blog, which you can read here.