A video on YouTube comparing President Obama’s inauguration with that of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s on Monday is making the rounds on Twitter in Russia. So far it has been viewed nearly 44,000 times since it was uploaded on Monday.
The six and half minute clip juxtaposes images of smiling, cheering Americans attending Obama’s Jan. 20, 2009 ceremony on the National Mall with the vacant streets of central Moscow as Putin’s motorcade drove silently to the Kremlin for his swearing in. Those streets had been cleared by police to prevent any protests along his route, but they also ensured the streets were devoid of cheering supporters as well.
While Obama is shown smiling and waving as they walked along the parade route to the White House, Putin’s face remains serious, almost dour, as he strides into the opulent hall where he took the oath of office with similarly unflinching stare. When Obama’s family is shown waving to the crowd, the video includes a shot of Putin’s wife, who is rarely seen in public, who appears to be swaying nervously. Obama, meanwhile, is seen swaying with his wife Michelle during their dance at one of the inaugural balls.
The video also pointedly splices in clips of this week’s police violence as Moscow riot police have cracked down on opposition demonstrators. On Monday they raided restaurants and cafes, even a McDonald’s, looking for potential protesters. Several people have been arrested throughout the week simply for wearing white ribbons, the symbol of the opposition, as they walked down the street.