‘I spit on everybody and park where I want’ An activist putting a sticker on a car
“Stop a Douschebag” or “Стоп Хам”
The collapse of the USSR brought forth all the corruption that had been festering to the front and it washed over not only the newly born Russian Federation but also several of the other former Soviet states, devastating their economies and their people. Some form of ‘stability’ was brought to some of the countries though they had by and large forgotten their Communist past and embraced nationalism, capitalism and some even fascism.
In some cities of Russia and indeed the former Soviet Union some communities had to rally together to preserve and defend themselves against the onslaught of corruption and that is something that we can only admire and look towards. Seeing as Ireland is facing its own critical junction where activists from various communities are banding together to defend themselves against austerity and injustice we can definitely relate!
It would be a lie to say that Russia has remained the same since the 1990s, there has been a degree of stability though the Russian state though it has come with sacrifices to personal freedom and concessions of basic democratic rights. Never the less, things are definitely better than they were in the 1990s!
With this brief background out of the way I’d like to introduce the heroes of this piece, ‘Stop a Douschebag’, a group of Socialist youths committed to stopping people from committing traffic offenses and other minor violations of the law, such as smoking / drinking in public. You see in Russia, the roads and subsequently footpaths are a legacy of the USSR where broad roads alongside broad footpaths were built, in today’s Russia people conveniently ignore the purpose of a foot path and use it as a short cut. I’ve seen it happen in St. Petersburg in front of the police, nobody really cares, well, except one group.
They stand for hours before cars and take verbal abuse off of people, some even brandish knives and guns at them while others try to physically confront them! The spirit and editing of each video is humorous and light making them easy and ultimately entertaining to watch, though their task is serious and arduous.
What they are in reality is doing is trying to instil respect among people for their communities and others around them and they are making some headway. Putin himself met with them and watched one of their videos but also drivers in the places they are active now recognize them, wave to them and beep at them while their Youtube videos frequently hit the million mark and more.
Some of their videos show another approach to community activism where they use their broad networking in order to rally people to defend other social projects, in one such video an illegal demolition of local garages takes place and activists from ‘Stop a Douschebag’ come together to call the police and even confront the masked militia defending the demolition.
It’s a ‘real’ grassroots movement built on the will of young individuals to see a better and more conscious society around them and we must certainly take inspiration from them. Check them out on Youtube by just typing in ‘Stop a Douschebag’ and enjoy!