The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Saturday 31 December 2011

In Harmony with your Conscience..

My reflections on life – in quotes (IV)    

"A time comes when all shades of life merge into one identity of harmony with your Conscience."

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Friday 30 December 2011

The State of BLISS..

My reflections on life – in quotes (III)   

"Oh yes, it’s all about to be free, yet to be there, the state of bliss when you don't need words to write in thoughts, no dependence yet pure commitment!"

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Thursday 29 December 2011

(300th Post) - We are very own healers..

This is my 300th post on this blog where I share a part of my writing. I am thankful to the person who inspired me to write consistently in an organized way. And I am thankful that the feeling has gone deeper with time. :)

My reflections on life – in quotes (II)   

“Like it is said we are the best teachers to us, I believe we are our very own healers and having a conscience that is soul driven, it pushes us to look beyond us. This 'beyond us' aura has different realms for each of us, the way our experiential learning guides us."

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Wednesday 28 December 2011


CBI today filed closure report in Nigamanand’s death case but nothing much was heard amid the high decibel developments on the Lokpal Bill. The reason sighted was lack of evidence or rather we should say it is yet another blind case that the CBI was not in a position to solve given the possibility of big names cropping up (another positive argument for keeping the CBI under the Lokpal). Nigamanand was a nonentity and will remain so and so are the silent crusaders like him. He could make news only after his suspicious death in the hospital. The media that went in overdrive to cover his death was never worried about his cause, his struggle for it, didn’t even bother to prepare a good length package on it today. Thinking of having debate shows is far fetched thing. 

Nigamanand was sitting on fast protesting the mining and quarrying activities in the Ganga riverbed that have destroyed millions of acres of farmland besides damaging the delicate ecological balance in the immediate areas of Ganga civilization. He died June this year while in coma after being on fast for 68 days. The advocates of the media and the civil society seldom bothered to take notice of it. He was pitted against a mining mafia that involved many government ministers as stakeholders in the booty sharing deeds as reported by Tehelka.

There are others like Nigamanand who are fasting, protesting, but they are seldom heard in the so-called national media, not even when they get some big wrong checked. One of them is Swami Shivanand, guru of Nigamanand. Shivanand’s another disciple, 20-year old Swami Yajnanand, was jailed for two months and was force-fed. He was released only after court order. Shivanand has alleged that Nigamanand was poisoned by the owner of a local stone crushing company. He has also alleged of threats by the company to stop agitation by Shivanand’s Matri Sadan Ashram. In May this year, the High Court shut down the company’s operations but in October, the state government opened two other stretches of Ganga to mining making Shivanand to go on fast again. Government came into action only after 11 days issuing ban order on mining activities in the Ganga riverbed but with a rider that the ban order would be reviewed after reports of a pending environmental study. All this was going on in the near vicinity of Delhi and only after four months of Nigamanand’s sacrifice but nothing was heard in the national media. Instead, you can find reports in prominent international carriers.

The New York Times wrote on December 8, “Late Monday night, at an ashram near the Ganges, an iron-willed former chemistry professor called Swami Shivanand took his first bite of food in 11 days. Shivanand had been fasting, against the pleas of state officials, to protest renewed mining of stones and sand from the Ganges riverbed in the northern Indian holy city of Haridwar. He broke the fast after officials slid under his door a written order that bans mining and quarrying on the riverbed pending an environmental impact study.”

The National Geographic wrote, “Shivanand and his followers have been fighting since 1998 to defend the Ganges from the effects of mining. Their environmental cause is driven by a spiritual imperative. Quarrying from the Ganges riverbed is a big business, one that appears to have infected the local government and law enforcement. Shivanand and his followers (“saints” in local parlance) have endured years of false arrests and assaults aimed at stopping their advocacy.”

Let’s go sane, now!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

While the flow goes on..

My reflections on life – in quotes (I)  

"One needs to see sunrise and sunset as two recurring events only. They are embedded in the flow of life. A flow that is ultimately decided by one's thought process. And, sunrise and sunset are just two symbolic reflection points while the flow goes on!"

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Tuesday 27 December 2011


Battlezone Lokpal: Episode 3, Volume 1, Year-ender 2011: In-focus arena shifts to Mumbai. Parliament to complete its quorum in Delhi: Delhi to Mumbai and the Lokpal - a tale of two cities romancing with the one beloved - Lokpal - blowing hot/blowing cold. Benefit of doubt to Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement once more. Let's work to make it heard loudly in the power-elite corridor. But, beware of the difference between Anna and Team Anna. The Team Anna has lost much of the gains. That is evident from the morning to the evening of December 27, 2011 – happenings don’t paint an encouraging picture.

Things were moving on towards another round of confrontation and the stage was set for December 27. And so it all began today. But events in the run-up to this fast face eerie similarities and visible differences to what happened before the August 16 fast.

Take 1: Anna Hazare is to sit of indefinite fast August 16 onwards. He alleges government of betraying on the Lokpal Bill promise by bringing a weak bill. Government has tried all to sabotage the fast including denying the venue, imposing impractical restrictions on the movement, vitriolic war of words between Team Anna and government spokespersons. Security concerns have been raised. Intelligence alerts for threats have been issued. Some surrogate PILs have been filed opposing the fast. Government is buoyed by the meek reaction on Ramdev Ramleela Ground episode and thinks can handle the Anna Hazare agitation in the similar way. Meanwhile it has tried character assassination attempts digging up the cases from nowhere against Team Anna members.

Take 2: Anna Hazare is to sit on his three day fast December 27 onwards. He alleges government of betraying on the Lokpal Bill promise by bringing a weak bill. Government has tried all to malign the movement. Buoyed by the recent spate of significant controversies against key Team Anna members, it is trying to give them a tough treatment. Like Ramdev episode earlier, this time, their high handedness is more due to Team Anna’s internal differences. They are reading something into the phrase ‘Anna fatigue’ as coined by some. They have continued with their character assassination attempts. The war of words has become even more vitriolic. Security alerts and security level have been heightened. Some surrogate PILs have been filed opposing the fast, this time in Mumbai.

Then there are some visible differences.

Take 3: This time there has been no controversy regarding the venue. Denying a venue to Anna Hazare to sit on fast, and that, too, after the August episode, was like burning the fingers again.

Take 4: For the first time, the government seemed in a comfortable mode on handling the upcoming agitation by Anna Hazare. Government has been shamelessly incredible. But for the first time, Team Anna was on a weakened credibility plank. The erosion in the credibility base of Team Anna that was already on a delicate ground has been significant after spate of controversies post August 2011 agitation and it was visible today as less than expected supporters turned up in Mumbai and in other parts of India. Certainly a gloomy scenario for the common man!

Take 5: Social media has not been so abuzz in the immediate context. Even last time, the Lokpal buzz on social networking sites exploded after government made a mess of the whole situation by arresting Anna Hazare on August 16. That looks unlikely this time as the government Lokpal Bill has already been passed by the Loksabha. We can expect something dramatic during the ‘Jail Bharo’ phase but there is a big ‘but’ as Anna Hazare is having high fever and blood pressure. We need to see what happens tomorrow.

For the moment, the quantum of the differences seems to outdo the mileage of the similarities to set a positive tone for the agitation.

So who is the loser? So who can be the loser?

Certainly you and me! The way parliament debated the bill today, intent of the parliamentarians across the political lines was clear that no one wanted a strong Lokpal Bill. They believe that they are above you and me and so cannot be treated under laws made for the common man. Many opponents of the Bill (not supporting Anna Hazare but for their own silly, selfish reasons) decided to walk out instead of participating in the voting process and the coterie includes groups like the Left, SP, BSP, RJD. That smells of some backchannel deal. If the trend continues, no wonder the Bill would be passed in the Rajya Sabha where the UPA combine is just 91 as opposed to the 136 members of the BJP and the Left combine. All cronies may come together to shamelessly cheat the common man, once again.

So it is the moment for us, the prospective losers, to think what went wrong. It is the time for Anna Hazare to think and strategize what went wrong. It is still a possibility that the Bill may not pass the Rajya Sabha voting. That will give an opportunity to mount the pressure again. That will give an opportunity to undo the wrongs done by Anna Hazare and his team members once again.

They need to realize that they need to make this agitation a movement of every Indian. They need to realize that they need thousands of self-motivated speakers for the cause of the anti-corruption movement and not just three/four now visibly controversial faces.

Let’s think!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Monday 26 December 2011


Social networking is nullifying the information gap between the protesters and the prospective protesters.

Today thousands held pro-reforms rally in Yemen. Arab Spring is indeed here and the fervour looks to get stronger with more and more countries continuing with the protests. Some have argued Russian conditions are not like the Arab countries and so the protests here cannot be equated with the Arab Spring. Who’s saying Russian conditions are like that in the Arab countries? If one is apolitical in Russia, nothing moves much for him except the economic crisis that has the potential to make lives of the Russians miserable who have seen the good days post-USSR split chaos, be it the generation then or the generation now that has come to its senses in a Russia that started its path on the democratic road when it was in its teens. And a recent report of the Economist, that has Russia’s current crisis as its cover story, says Russian economy needs an international crude prices hovering around $110 for the growth story that Russia was during 2000-2008. The global recession that started in 2008 is still here and so are the dimming chances of an economic miracle for Russia that could not work out a comprehensive industrial policy to revamp its industrial economy. Instead Putinism, as some reports have coined, kept on spreading its tentacles and now Russians really fear of a Putin who intends to continue in the power for another 12 years after dominating Russia for last 12 years. All the traits of an aspiring dictator!

In the backdrop of this, second Saturday protests were held in different parts of Russia on December 24 to protest the rigged December 4 parliamentary elections demanding cancellation of results and a re-poll.  Most of the independent reports put the Moscow gathering at the Sakharov square to be around 1,00,000 (a blog in the Wall Street Journal puts an exact figure of 102,486 quoting a local newspaper Novaya Gazeta) in addition to the thousands in other parts of Russia weathering the freezing temperature and that is indeed a testimony to the growing disenchantment with Putinism that started expressing itself as Facebook rallies. Another WSJ blog post writes on the diversity of the gathering, “The protesters span a huge range, from anarchist activists, communists to popular authors and actors.”

Large-scale mass protests had become a thing of past. And 2011 would be remembered in the world history for reviving the word ‘mass protest’. The ‘Arab Spring’ that made masses of the dictatorial regimes like Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria inhabiting the streets demanding reforms would be the golden catchphrase for the centuries of the written history. And from a regional movement, the Arab Spring has become global. It is affecting countries like India, China and Russia. It is affecting the countries across the globe in the form of the border-less movement ‘Occupy’ against corporate malpractices. It was the year of the ‘protester’, something endorsed by the Time magazine when it found its person of the year in the ‘protester’.

This global blaze has all the potential to make the Presidential poll road next March a difficult terrain that, not until so long, was being seen as an easy transition for the Prime Minister Putin to the President Putin. And unlike its peer battlegrounds, Russia has deeper internet penetration and largest social media usage in Europe. Also, a major chunk of the Russian population gets its news from the uncensored websites and given the response that the protests are getting, it is bound to explode. An interesting development is an eye-opening pointer about role of the social media in the current Russian protests. To avoid controversies on who would address the December 24 rally at the Sakharov square, online voting was invited by the organizers and a meeting to analyze the preferences was webcast live on December 22. After much debate and discussion and tallying the results with Facebook voting, some controversial names were removed and an optimized list was prepared that began with Aleksei Navalny.

Whoa! Indeed, it is akin to taking the social media usage to its next level in organizing mass protests in a society where the mainstream media is tightly regulated. With instant feedback and real time development information, social networking can supplement the ground movements immensely and the same thing is happening in Russia. Similar things happened and are happening in different countries witnessing the Arab Spring. Social networking is nullifying the information gap between the protesters and the prospective protesters.

Though Putin is looking to be in dismissive mode over it, the central Moscow leadership looks worried if not shrugged. Topmost security officials are making noise about regulating the internet content and they look serious in their intent. Can they do it given the allegations that every internet communication in Russia is already routed through the FSB? Might be! For the moment, it has happened so fast that the Russian authorities couldn’t react on it in the same way as it happened in Tunisia. By the time Zine Ben Ali realized the Facebook chatter was strong enough to sustain the ground movement, it was too late. Putin has one factor supporting him. He brought stability to a chaotic country and still, Russians have no alternative political figure who could replace him in Russia though analysts are pitching Navalny against him that is shady given the ultranationalist and Fascist overtures of Navalny. But at the same time, it is also equally true that Putin’s popularity has eroded rapidly reaching to a career low of 40 per cent while United Russia has now only slim majority in the Duma though, now everyone accepts the December 4 elections were rigged. It indicates United Russia may lose the majority it the fair elections are held or Putin may have negative surprises in the store if the movement keeps on growing and if the millions more join the protests before the March 2012 Presidential polls. Putin may choose reform and openness (Perestroika and Glasnost of Democratic Russia) or can chart the ruthless territory of suppression. For the moment, he seems to have chosen the later one as the Russian protest movement saw more outcry to denounce the government after the opposition activist and leader of the Left Front group Sergei Udaltsov was sentenced for 10 more days today extending his jail sentence of 15 days for participating in the rallies after the parliamentary elections on December 4.

What next for Russians? What next for Putin? What next for Russia?

What next for Russian protests?

Other related posts:

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Sunday 25 December 2011


Devoted to the millions of streetchildren and underage workers who might have heard the word 'Christmas' but cannot experience it. Let's pray the Hope of Christmas prevails and the smile spreads.

Merry Christmas to all.

YouTube video link: 
Christmas 2011-Similar Tune, Different Rhyme

Here it goes: 

Dashing through the streets

With the courage of forced speed
Day or night, we go
Summer or winter, we flow
Surviving all the way
Thinking of good days
When it will be all bright
What great it is to have
A good day every night 

Jingle bells jingle bells
O Santa,
When will we, too, be well?
Jingle bells jingle bells
When will we have the fairy tale?
Jingle bells jingle bells
Jingle all the way
O Santa,
When will we have that say?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

Saturday 24 December 2011


Continued from:

Would Russia be another Iran for the ordinary Russians?

“By nearly every indicator, Russians are embracing social and digital media in ways deeper and more impactful than most other countries around the world,” a Mashable post this June said. Though the report was about linking marketing insights to the emerging social media trends in Russia, it tells about the deeper penetration of the social media in Russian life. Facebook was launched in Russia in January 2010 and it grew by 376 per cent in first four months. The report emphatically says, “The millions of 18 to 27-year-olds now poised to drive the next generation of social and economic change in Russia are setting aside previously held perceptions about global engagement and are tweeting, blogging, liking, posting and emailing through a myriad of online social communities.”

Globally, social networking time spend is now 19% of the total online time-spend and Russia is in top 5 countries registering fast paced growth in online social networking, say a recent comScore report. With a median age of 38.7 years and an industrial economy in unstable phase, the social networking usage on different social media platforms can easily be diverted to target the angst against the political events in the country and it may happen spontaneously in an interconnected world where the dots are the digital spots hard to restrict. Internet has done thing, converting the whole world into a global information village and all you need is the access spots, something that is well supplied in Russia. Okay, some analysts and Russia watchers say the crowd that gathered for protests post December 4 elections was not there for political upheaval. These analysts saw it another extension of their social media activity by the younger or politically insensitive lot. But they forget the issue in the backdrop. Allegations of a rigged election and a call by a popular blogger (and not a political figure) bring thousands on the streets. That blogger is arrested and it leads to further protests mobilizing tens of thousands. The 15 days of prison make the popular blogger a key political figure in Russia. A recent Financial Times report places Aleksei Navalny at the top in its list of ’25 Russians to watch’. On December 21, Navalny completed his prison term and walked out.

Though Navalny’s character make is that of a mysterious person with ultra-nationalist and Fascist overtures, what draws Russians to him and especially the working middle-age population is his consistently confident challenge to the authorities. Now he is out and raring to go. Now he is immensely popular. Now he is strategic asset for political analysts, journalists and Russia watchers. Now he is considered one of the most potential threats for Putin’s iron grip on Russia. And he realizes it. He realizes the opportunity that is before him. Putin needs to do something dramatic with Russian political system reforms unlike his misplaced raw sense of humour? Has he learnt his lessons?

Russia’s Legislature is far weaker than the Executive. President wields considerable power and appoints the Prime Minister and other higher state officials with Duma approval. United Russia is in majority there. And United Russia is synonymous with Putin. The extent of Putin’s power can be gauged from the fact that he remains the central political figure even as the Prime Minister and dictate the terms to Medvedev. Very shrewdly he didn’t allow any possible upshot to Medvedev which could have prompted the later to aspire for greater political role in Russia. The reported ‘Putin-Medvedev 2012 swap deal’ is the telling truth.

Recent protests tell Russians have started getting fed up of it. Tens of thousands could be tens of millions if not addressed. But by the casual attitude adopted by Putin and Medvedev in their television interviews, it seems the minority view may see its day to become a majority opinion. What best proposed (according to Putin) was a system of indirect selection of governors of provinces. Instead of being nominated by the President, there may be an alternative system where governors will be elected from a list finalized by the Kremlin. Some other suggested reforms were on this line only. What crap! Anyone can see the rubbish in Putin’s logics. A report said this ‘high pitched reform rhetoric’ can easily find its parallel in Iran’s political system. If Putin intends to bring political reforms like this with sole aim of making his grip on Russia even stronger, it’s horrific. Add to it the history of election rigging in the short history of democracy in Russia and one can easily see the political mess Russia is in. It is not just with this election. Even 2007 elections were reported to be not free. A US report quotes the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. Parliamentarians of the OSCE and the Council of Europe who observed the elections concluded that they were "not fair and failed to meet many OSCE and Council of Europe commitments and standards for democratic elections." They noted that the elections took place in an atmosphere which seriously limited political competition. Frequent abuses of administrative resources, media coverage strongly in favor of United Russia, and the revised election code combined to hinder political pluralism.

Would Russians go for a political system like Iran?

Certainly they would not and the recent protests might be the beginning of a whole new wave. Let’s see what happens on December 24 protest calls. The difference from 2007 is the presence of the Internet. It has become the main tool of expression for millions of Russians. Tunisia saw the Facebook revolution. Egypt saw the successful ‘Facebook April 6 Movement. Russia has begun with successful ‘Facebook’ rallies. Russian government being worried of it is the testimony to the growing influence of the social media in Europe’s largest Internet user in shaping opinion of the Russian population. An AFP report quotes Russia's Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev in an interview with Argumenty i Fakty newspaper saying, "We cannot ignore the use of the internet by criminals and terrorist groups." Patrushev says Internet usage in Russia needs to be regulated like it is done in China.  A Reuters reports says, “Russia's top social networking site VKontakte defiantly rejected a request by the Federal Security Service to block opposition groups from using it to organize street protests accusing the authorities of rigging the election.” Rights activist Lev Ponomaryov told the Interfax, “It's very significant that such proposals are being voiced after the mass rally in Moscow and ahead of another protest planned for December 24." He further said that restrictions on Internet freedom would provoke additional tensions in society. According to an AFP report, almost a quarter of Russians get most of their news from Internet and most of this is uncensored. The report says, “Putin famously dismissed the Internet last year as "50 percent pornography", but the Russian-language sector is more and more dictating the news agenda despite the state domination of print and television media.”

Would Putin think on the similar lines even now given the fact that the increasing wave of ground activity based on online campaigns prompted the United Russia officials to use the same media, Internet, to counter the upsurge of opinion? Instead expect some cracking down given the recent trend. The Reuters report says, “In recent days, mass cyber attacks crippled the country's top blogging platform LiveJournal and the sites of liberal media outfits which reported on campaign violations.” “Now the connection between hackers and state government activity seems to be more clear," said Andrei Soldatov, a Russian intelligence expert from, which tracks Russia's special services. "Clearly we now see panic. They have no strategy for how to deal with Facebook," he said.

It is already people vs. the state now. Much depends on who gains what, whether the government unleashes a run to crush the people’s mood or the anti-government factions swell up to form an effective deterrent. Much is on the stake. "Just using the Internet, without having access to other media, neither television nor print, Navalny carried out an intervention with a slogan," AFP quoted Alexander Morozov, a political analyst and director of the Moscow Centre of Media Studies before the December 4 parliamentary elections. Navalny is to address the December 24 rally on Moscow's Sakharov Avenue and he has made his intentions clear. He said in a post-release interview on December 24, "I don't think Putin's regime of absolute power, which prevails in this country, will last for more than two years - that's the maximum."  

Let’s wait for the evening of December 24.

 ©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Friday 23 December 2011


Quite often I see this man standing at the closed grilled door of this temple and quite often, I make it a point to stop there and watch him for a while.

It’s over midnight. The maddening Delhi is somewhat quiet. Be it summer or winter, you can find him standing at the door, hands bent, speaking silently. I can never know the conversation between him and his god but I do feel he is engrossed till he is there.

Probably his faith calls him there at that hour when the world sleeps. Its soothing to see him like this because I know how it feels when the faith derails..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Thursday 22 December 2011



HMT Watches Company Showroom, Jhandewalan Extension, Delhi
My father has one but it does not work now. He had bought three more for my sisters when Doordarshan used to be the main TV channel of India. They are also lying somewhere in some cupboard, defunct. I never had fancy for watches. I still don’t put on one. And I haven’t seen anyone, as far as I have seen, putting on them.

I was well sure of it that the durable ‘Amchi Indian’ HMT watches were a thing of the past. And then this serendipity happened. It was a chance discovery of this company showroom of HMT watches at Jhandewalan Extension. It is housed in a small shop of a DDA shopping complex named ‘Anarkali Market’. I could not snap the interiors of the shop as it was closing time 5 PM and shutters were down. Later on, I came to know this shop opens daily with jolly mood timing 10-5.

On googling, contrary to my thoughts, I found good stuff on the Internet about HMT watches. One of it was about India Post tie-up with HMT to sell its watches at post offices. In the pilot stage, five Kolkata post offices have been chosen. But most of the articles were about how this ‘timekeepers of the nation’ brand lost its way; how it could not see that coming days were of ‘Quartz’ watches. Instead it kept of making mechanical watches. And the Titan wave that started in 1987 swept it away easily. Business acumen of HMT management looks in opening outlets like this shop at a place that is basically a B2B market place with limited B2C activity and almost nil residential population.

But take it easy policy attitude prevails in Indian administration like its polity. Many ailing PSUs are surviving so let there be one more. Yes, they have contributed to the body of knowledge; plethora of knowledge on ‘what to do’ and ‘what not to do’ to kill your brand and at the same time how to maintain the healthy flow of salaries and perks.

Bravo! It also happens in India

But, for the time being, I am forced to walk the ‘showroom’ once again to take a feel of its interiors and to look inside the minds of those who come here dutifully 10-5. That will tell much about another story on the business acumen of the bosses – the revival thing in Babu style.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Wednesday 21 December 2011


Russian Demography: According to the US Department of State, the Russian population was 142.9 million at the end of August 2011. The literacy rate was 99.4 per cent. According to 2010 estimates, the total workforce was 75.49 million. Services employed 58.1 per cent of it; industry absorbed 31.9 per cent while 10 per cent was engaged in agricultural production. 

So a huge, 90 per cent of the population is engaged in services and industry and when economy doesn’t do well every section of the society is bound to go down and that in-turn affects the population engaged in agricultural activities. The economic crisis that began in 2008 is more or less there with intermittent bright spots. And the combination becomes deadly when the common man is forced to sip this cocktail mixed with endemic corruption. There comes a time, sooner or later, to say enough is enough.

Does the current wave of protests say this or it is just the public outrage on what they possibly see as the return of a Stalinist sort of regime when leaders are not chosen to run the country but they chose when to step down and certainly none of the dictators have done it voluntarily yet. Do Russians see the next dictator of Russia in Vladimir Putin? Public is particularly outraged on reports of a Putin-Medvedev deal that is about both swapping their positions as the President and the Prime Minister after the next year elections.  Putin will again be the President and Medvedev will be its next Prime Minister.

Medvedev says Russia’s current political system is exhausted and needs an overhaul: Medvedev’s statement “the old model — which faithfully and truly served our state in recent years, and didn’t serve it badly, and which we all defended — it has exhausted itself” on protests and Russia’s political system looks cacophonous in the light of the so-called ‘Putin-Medvedev position swap deal’ due next year. Even more cacophonous was his exhortation dismissing the cause behind the protests. He said, “It has already begun. And it began not as a result of some demonstrations — that is just superficial, it is foam, if you like — it is a manifestation of human dissatisfaction.” Here he looks to accept the protests but not the intent behind them. Strange enough! Though no one say can with surety that Medvedev will continue his run in the forefront of the Russian politics given the ever increasing reports of differences between him and Putin, the ground political reality tells us that Russia has started seeing a chronic malaise in just two decades of its democratic experience.

The US Department of State observes and this time, puts in it in a right perspective and not something remnant of cold-war years overture thanks to the ‘still weak’ democratic ground in Russia. It says, “Since then (December 1991 when the USSR splintered into Russia and 14 other independent republics), Russia has shifted its post-Soviet democratic ambitions in favor of a centralized semi-authoritarian state whose legitimacy is buttressed, in part, by carefully managed national elections, former President Putin's genuine popularity, and the prudent management of Russia's windfall energy wealth.” Centralized semi-authoritarian’ and ‘carefully managed elections’ phrases fit into the scheme of the events in the Russia of the day. ‘Putin’s genuine popularity’ is coming down while the ‘prudent management of Russia's windfall energy wealth’ is yet to bring Russia back to the prosperous days of 2000-2008 Russia, a platform that many in the global economy saw as a launch-pad for the developed Russia of the future.

That is ominous. Everyone talks about China’s growing economy but no one in the civilized world is ready to move to China to make it home; no one is going there for higher education; no transnational is going to make China a headquarter for its operations. They see it as a big factory system that has to supply to the world. No one is concerned about the millions of  unknown faces in the big factory called China because the Chinese central leadership is not. Almost every just human right is suppressed in China. No need to write much on that. And corruption is endemic there, too. Distortion to this extent of the Communist politics values has become a pandemic and is present in fully distorted fervour in almost of the countries where the old-school Communist politics still exists. China, Cuba and N Korea are its glaring examples. The Communist USSR fell due to this only. They make the common men look like stooges. Just google the YouTube for ‘N Korea mourning’ and you will find a series of videos showing N Koreans mourning in offices and on streets on the sad demise of their ‘Dear Leader’ Kim Jong-il and you will easily find most of them are forced to do so for a dictator who was responsible for over two million famine deaths in his country since he took over it in 1994.

After two decades of a shaky democratic experiment and a prosperous 2000-2008 phase in between, most of the Russians are not prepared to go back to the old days. Explosion of sentiments through the social media and snowballed protests on the ground clearly tell this.

Is the central Russian leadership reading this? Is the central Russian leadership realizing the pulse of the Internet bound, restless younger lot that has the potential to engulf whole of the Russian working-age population? According to the CIA Factbook, 71.8 per cent of Russian population is in the age-group 15-64 while the median age is 38.7 years. With urban population of 73 per cent and unemployment rate of 18.3 per cent, this unrest soon can be a pan-Russia phenomenon with the Internet penetration of 42.8 per cent.

Social media use habits are going to play an important role in this.


©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Tuesday 20 December 2011


“Logically, Putin should make the first move, but his statements during the call-in show were counterproductive. Journalist Oleg Kashin even called his performance "self-immolation." Kashin's opinion had statistical support: The number of people who went on a Facebook site and clicked that they would attend the next demonstration Dec. 24 rose from 18,000 to 21,500 during the course of the show.” – The Moscow Times, December 19, 2011

Vladimir Putin held his 10th annual televised call-in show on December 15 and this year it lasted for more than four hours, longest in show’s history. He had to answer. He had to sound credible and sincere on the public protests on vote rigging complaints. Instead what he said bounced back on him. People who were not sure on deciding to attend the next round of protests on December 24 found reasons in Putin’s untimed raw humour especially his ‘condom expertise’ statement. He said, “To be perfectly honest, when I saw something on some people's chests, I'll be honest -- it's not quite appropriate -- but in any case, I thought that this was part of an anti-AIDS campaign, that these were, pardon me, condoms."  Incidentally, the protestors had pinned white ribbons to their coats and Putin’s way to handle public sentiments found a way to dismiss the collective gathering by treating it in lighter vein like the other day he alleged of CIA intervention and support behind these protests. And this tells us something. Underneath, he understands the problem is big. Linking it to CIA tells us. Like in  India, where most of the major problems related to the internal security are attributed to the ISI or Pakistan as the first resort to buy time to think on what the problem is, similar sentiment persists in lawmakers everywhere and since Russia’s nemesis is USA and so blame it on CIA. But given the things at the moment, no one can say if Putin has been able to gauge the mood of the nation especially it’s younger lot?

One of the striking features of the protests post December 4 parliamentary elections has been the spontaneous involvement of many who were considered politically inactive. "The most important outcome of yesterday's rally is that it not only drew people who usually come out to such events, but also those who never attend them," AFP quoted LiveJournal's most followed Russian blogger drugoi (other) about the protests immediately after the December 4 elections.

And this generation is led by bloggers like Aleksei Navalny. This generation that Putin is finding hard to placate thrives on the Internet, an Internet which is just one of the few options available to Russians to express them independently. ‘Social networking booming in Egypt, Russia, survey finds’, a story on CNN today provides some insights. The story is based on findings of the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project. The report finds, “In almost all the countries surveyed, the use of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter didn't change much from 2010 to 2011. Two notable exceptions were Egypt, where 28% of respondents now use social networks -- up from 18% last year -- and Russia, where social-networking use rose from 33% to 43%.” According to the Internet World Stats, Russia’s Internet penetration was 42.8 per cent of the total population in 2010. According to a comScore release, Russia overtook Germany as market with largest online audience in Europe. The Pew survey found that only 6 per cent of the Russia’s Internet population is not on the social networking sites.

The Arab Spring that spread to Russia owes much to Russia’s demographics, its social media habits and an archaic political system. Let’s see what’s on the table.  


©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Monday 19 December 2011


Sometimes beginning the day with a whisper, sometimes with a cry
Sometimes gaping in the void, at times beginning it with an innocent invite

The sudden trance that it takes me into away from the colossal clutches of the trite
Dragging away, disconnected, liberating to the elementary momentary amnesia
Cruising to the myopic state of bionic reflections jaded by the hyperemia
The ephemeral circumvention of the moment drawn away from the empirical hysteria
To the cerebral existence of the self-efficacious creation, to that fleeting vision

There comes a time,
When debates become primordial, when the need of solutions become unreal

O! Childhood,
Why don’t you stay forever transcending me to the realms of that fading Ideal
August 22, 2010
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Sunday 18 December 2011


A meticulously crafted image - he’s seen fighting the Siberian tiger; he poses to the photographers swimming butterfly; he bares his abs for photographers much in the same way film stars and models do; he happily makes Anna Chapmen the spy one of his party members and a whole news making machinery is put into relaying it; a former Playboy Playmate fights election on his party ticket and becomes MP.

A macho image (aimed at appealing to every section of Russian society) of KGB operative turned politician who took over Russia with promise of political and economic reforms; an image that is under threat now thanks to the efforts of some bloggers led by Aleksei Navalny, Russia’s most popular political blogger.

“I’d like to thank Aleksei Navalny,” she said. “Thanks to him, specifically because of the efforts of this concrete person, tomorrow thousands of people will come out to the square. It was he who united us with the idea: all against ‘the Party of Swindlers and Thieves’.”

A New York Times report quoted a young environment activist appealing to gather for protests on Saturday, December 10. Thousands came together in different parts of Russia on December 10 alleging wide-scale vote rigging in December 4 parliamentary elections. Aleksei Navalany, a 34 year old blogger who has given the slogan ‘the Party of Swindlers and Thieves’ for Vladimir Putin’s United Russia Party, is being touted as the potential threat for Putin’s iron grip on Russia.

Since his coming to the political prominence in 1999, Putin has tightly controlled the mainstream media and has manipulated it the way he found it benefitting to him. Thanks to the oil-economy, Russia saw good days 2000-2008. Oil pumped in money and economy did well. Putin kept on his grip tightening but nothing much was done on the ground to bring about fundamental reforms in Russia’s economy in terms of Industrial and manufacturing policy. Things started going bad when the global recession started spreading in 2008. Gradually things worsened. Corruption became endemic. Dreams of living in a developed Russia once again started getting threadbare. Anti-incumbency was bound to grow and it grew. But Putin was not ready to leave; he’s not ready to leave; not ready to weaken his grip even slightly. He was President for two terms. He could not continue for the third term as restricted by the Russian Constitution. But he remained the central political figure of Russia by being elected as the Prime Minister and now intends to come back as the President next year again when the elections are due. His intention and efforts to continue and a growing protests, though not significant yet as his party is still the most popular in Russia based on the election outcomes and that his approval rating is still above 60 per cent according to the independent Levada Centre, foretell us of chaotic days ahead in Russia.

After the elections and reports on rigging, Navalny called on his fellow countrymen via his Twitter handle (1,37,750 followers then) and his blogs ( and - 61,184 fans then) to come together for protests on Monday, December 5. The New York Times writes, “The full measure of Mr. Navalny’s charisma became clear after protests on Monday night; an estimated 5,000 people materialized, making it the largest anti-Kremlin demonstration in recent memory, and Mr. Navalny was arrested on charges of resisting the police and sentenced to 15 days in prison.”

Today, thousands again came on the streets of St. Petersburg and Moscow to protest against the vote-rigging demanding recounting and sloganeering for a Putin-free Russia. Thousands of supporters of the Communist Party rallied outside the Kremlin weathering wind, rain and blizzard. Central square of St. Petersburg saw thousands coming together chanting ‘Russia without Putin’ and ‘We want to live in an honest country!’ The Associated Press writes, “Frustration has grown with the ruling United Russia party and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who has dominated Russian politics for over a decade.”

Vladimir Putin would blame the social media for the anti-Putin wave! How?


©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - 

Saturday 17 December 2011


I may not know where I am
I may not know where headed I am
But I know who I am

I may not touch the wind
I may not soak the rain
I may not feel the Zen
I may not end up in the heaven
But I know I am not afraid anymore

Excruciating, reverberating, rejuvenating
Moments had their breathe squeezing
When they saw the disaster impending
Moments sang the song of the thrill
The voice became softer devoid of any shrill

I stand there, quiet,
To wage another fight
Moments reckon of the looming night
Inviting me
To the darkness of uncertainty
But I know
I am still there
For your smile of serenity
I will zoom past this night

I may not know where I am
I may not know where headed I am
But I know who I am

Its stranger still!
Life, a loser, calls, says! Behold
Let's fight again,
For the sake of romance of fighting
For the joy of adventure of losing

Its stranger still!
Life recalls, says! Listen
We have been the bedfellows
Always fighting
Never thinking of going away

You see your win I see mine
You claim your survival
I claim my revival
I have been there, listening
To all, it says, sifting
Through, what it means
Assimilating what it aims
Reading what it failed to name

I know through its odd sways
I will, again, find my ways
I know I am the one, whom
I have been looking for
I may not know where I am
I may not know where headed I am
But I know who I am

Life, you say I was mismatched
And there,
You so deliberately crashed
O’ your materialist ways, with
Layers of assorted ambiguities
I was there, I am there, I will be there
With all my ‘too’ simplistic ethos and mores
That you found so hard to believe
You went on to the extent, to

O’ life, but
Isn’t it your way to go?
A flow, marked with
Such dismay
That you ceased to exist for me

I won’t take anymore of your artificial beauty
I won’t listen to anymore of your cacophonous eloquence
I won’t be deceived anymore by your innocent look
I won’t be betrayed anymore by duality of your words
I reclaimed who I was and who I need to be
I know I am through this important learning

I may not know where I am
I may not know where headed I am
But I am now on the way to be me
For I know who I was
For I know who I am going to be!

March 28, 2011

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -