On October 7, civil activist Alexey Borisov held a single picket, which was timed to coincide with the birthday of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He was holding a portrait of the president with an inscription: "A thief, a liar, an international criminal." The action began at 11:30 on the site in front of the Municipal Cultural Center on Victory Square, and ended after about 40 minutes. Correspondent of «7x7» visited the picket and talked with Borisov and passersby.
"Hope they will get you, bastard!"
At 11:30, Alexey Borisov unrolled a self-made poster. At the same time, two men in civilian clothes stood in front of him, about 40 meters away; they filmed him and called someone a few times. Borisov recalled that he had seen them several times during mass protests.
"Many people who understand that something wrong is happening in the country, consider themselves lonely. So, let them see me and know that there is someone else who thinks the same way. And let them have this thought process further develop, let them tell someone else about it. It is necessary to somehow agitate people, to start the thinking process. Because the "zombie-attacks" twenty-four for seven on all channels of these propagandons [douchebags] burned out people’s brains, it feels like it was just melted in a microwave oven — they have some weird substance in their heads. They are absent in this world, they are in some illusions. And I want to start this [thinking] process," the activist explained the purpose of the picket.
People were constantly passing by — the road leads to a large shopping and entertainment center, to the market and to the railway station. Many young people made it clear that they support the activist — they showed a raised thumb, shouted "Attaboy", "That is true!", “Well done, dude!". Stopped, asked permission and took selfies. Some passed by, but then returned to take pictures. One passerby didn’t get a good picture, he returned with a laugh: "Sorry, it didn’t work, but I just can't leave without such a photo." Drivers supported by honking.
A fit pensioner approached Borisov, called him brave, wished health and all the best. Another elderly woman decided to discuss the poster of Borisov with the «7x7» correspondent.
"So, Ryazan is against Putin?" she asked and said that she herself came from the suburbs to the regional center to visit her sister, worked at the Moscow chocolate factory "Red October", therefore she receives a pension of about 19 thousand rubles. "Well, it’s ok, we live: there is a roof over our heads, we do not starve. I can come here. And what's going on in Ukraine: Poroshenko kills his people, kills our... What a thing to do!"
Another woman asked Borisov what organization he was from, whose opinion he expressed.
"I have my own opinion," answered Borisov.
"And I thought it had changed, " the pensioner said thoughtfully. "Well, this is just perfect for foreign countries. You help them, well done [ironically]. Tomorrow everything will be in foreign magazines, right?"
"What is it with you and the West? Look what's going on here," the activist advised.
"I don’t know, everything is fine with those who works," said the woman, and Borisov replied that he has been working since he was 17 and knows how much you can earn if you work honestly.
"You need to do it differently. They only get agvantage from the things you do. Everything will be in magazines... Oh, my God," the pensioner sighed and left.
"And why are you standing here with such a poster?" another older woman asked.
"I express my opinion, I have the right," repeated the picketer.
"No, you should not stand like that, what is it for? To start the war? To live like in the nineties? I know everything, I have lived a life. Shame on you!"
"I'll call the police, so they could get you, bastard! Get out of Russia! You are a criminal yourself!" another pensioner threatened, trying to shout down the wind.
The second one came up, and together the two of them began shouting to Borisov, so that he would leave Russia.
"These are the ones who support the president," commented the activist. "Mostly they are elderly people, the clothes show that people have very modest incomes. They have nothing but beggarly food and television, which they watch from morning to evening. It is because of watching TV shows they have such an attitude towards the president, about what is happening in Russia and the West."
One of Putin’s supporters defiantly pulled out a phone and started calling someone. The police stronghold is located near. The police already approached two men in civilian clothes who were taking a picket on video, but quickly returned to their posts.
"The response is amazing"
Borisov conducted many pickets, but according to him, for the first time, such a stormy response was received from those who agreed with his opinion and from the president’s supporters. Approximately two-thirds of them support the activist, and a third did not.
"The response is amazing: this is probably the most important topic for people, it hurts them, it shocks," said Borisov. "I protest against this gangster, thieves, and now I even call it fascist government, which has practically destroyed my country. A showcase will also soon collapse. It [government] has already quarreled us with the whole world, conducts wars, kills its enemies —decent people who cannot be silent. Kills, imprisons, abuses in every possible way. I, like any normal person, can not accept it.
Borisov is now under administrative investigation for a single picket during a rally of the Ryazan branch of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation against raising the retirement age.
"The investigator called and said that someone insisted on the case. He seemed to be a decent man, and apologetically said that he would have to call me. Well, I'll go," he explained.
Two men in civilian clothes left immediately after Borisov got into the car and drove away from the parking lot.
Alexey Borisov, a Ryazan activist, participated in truckers' strikes against the Platon system [an electronic toll collection system established in Russia in November 2015]. Prior to this, did not participate in any actions.
In June 2018, the court appointed him a fine of 200 thousand rubles for the repeated administrative offense in part 8 of Article 20.2 of the Code on Administrative Offenses ("Repeated violation of the procedure for public events"). Borisov was accused of participating in the “Russian March”, which was held in Moscow on November 4, 2017. He himself denies participation in the march and claims that he was standing on the sidewalk, but then he stood up for the guy who was being dragged into the paddy wagon.
Ekaterina Vulikh, photo of the author, «7x7»