God help us.
Romania’s government collapsed on Monday as Prime Minister Emil Boc resigned after mass protests in Bucharest against austerity measures. President Traian Basescu appointed a nonpartisan deputy prime minister and nominated Mihai Razvan Ungureanu for the ministership, contingent on parliamentary approval. Opposition leaders have decried Ungureanu, the head of the country’s foreign intelligence service, as pro-American and have vowed to contest his nomination. (NYT)
In Moscow, tens of thousands of people braved record-low deadly cold to protest Putin’s probable election to a six-year presidential term. Common grievances include an antidemocratic political culture, Putin’s failure to bring economic diversification to what many describe as a petro-state, as well as a variety of human rights violations. Foreign policy folly, such as Russia’s recent veto of a UN Security Council effort to end the Syrian government’s violence against its citizens, has also attracted the attention of some critics. One protester described the movement thus: ”We are a snowball … and we’re rolling.” (NYT)
Photo courtesy of Takeshi Atwater-Kaji