Sir: Anne Applebaum (‘Russia’s new dissidents’, 31 December) welcomes the Moscow protestors’ challenge to a smug and venal elite. We can all agree with that. But she asks if they are developing into an opposition — and the simple answer is ‘no’. Alexander Navalny, the Moscow protest leader, cries out against ‘villains and thieves’. He represents genuine resentment at swindlers in power and a desire for a clean-up, but is not an opposition as such. Russia’s ‘opposition’ comprises some decidedly unpleasant trends, from recidivist communists to nationalists who make the BNP look moderate. And who’s to say the ‘middle class’ are a bastion of open democracy anyway? We may wish for transparent elections for Russia, but it’s not clear that the Russians agree. We ought to adjust our expectations accordingly.
Bring on the bust
Sir: Matthew Parris (31 December) detects in himself a sneaking ‘so what?’ in the face of the coming euro crash and suspects it may be shared by millions. He is right on both counts. What he has discerned is a seething anger, a simmering rage out there among the demos. It derives from years of sneering contempt for us all by a new self-serving and self-enriching ruling class, incompetent, venal and corrupt. It originated in Brussels, was adopted by a coterie of British Euro-converts, inherited by Blairism and is now, alas, endorsed by the coalition. It looks as if the excesses of our self-ordained rulers are going to bring down their palaces in ruins. And the attitude of the demos is to delight in their destruction even though we will all be hurt by the falling rubble.
Burnt in Battersea
Sir: Martin Vander Weyer (Any Other Business, 31 December) draws our attention to the continuing lack of progress in putting Battersea power station to good use.