Beyond Surreal: Russian MP in DC planning to overthrow Putin


It’s hard to believe that this is even true. It seems completely inconceivable that a member of Russian parliament would be in the US plotting to overthrow his own government. Imagine if it were the other way around. Can you say treason?

An interesting thing happened in Washington recently, and it had nothing to do with Beltway politics, Democrats vs. Republicans, or any of the other standard fare for the middle of the week in mid-January. Rather, a relatively small, little publicized event took place at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a prominent liberal-leaning think tank in Washington.

The event, “Russia’s Opposition in a Time of War and Crisis,” featured prominent Russian liberal opposition parliamentarian (member of the Russian Duma) Ilya Ponomarev, a noted critic of Russian President Putin, providing a detailed presentation regarding the current political climate in Russia, and the potential for the ousting or overthrow of the Russian government. Yes, you heard that right. A Russian elected official came to the United States to give a talk about how best to effect regime change in his own country.

Is it just me, or has everyone gone completely crazy?

The most significant portion of Ponomarev’s presentation centered on a slide titled “Conditions for the Change of Power in Russia,” which laid out essentially a roadmap or blueprint for regime change in Russia. Ponomarev’s slide outlined what he believes to be the essential elements for successful overthrow of the democratically elected government. These include:

  • Organized street protest (versus spontaneous one)

  • Appealing vision of the future presented to the majority of Russians

  • Leader, acceptable for all protesters and the elites

  • Access to some financial resources

  • Part of the elites should support the revolution

  • Trigger event

Well, it certainly sounds familiar. Is it true? Seeing is believing.

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