‘‘The chaos on Capitol Hill became an ordeal for democracy and undermined the country’s reputation in the eyes of the rest of the world” – this is how the American media assessed the events of January 6, 2021. Furious fans of former President Donald Trump, far-rightists and just plain weird personalities broke into the congressional building when both chambers were in session. Five people died. Many rioters are now under investigation, while others are already in prison. How the instigators were punished and why this happened at all, RIA Novosti figured out.
Out of control
“We will never surrender, we will never admit defeat,” Donald Trump became increasingly inflamed at the March to Save America rally. He refused to acknowledge Joseph Biden’s victory. Thousands came to listen to the outgoing leader, as well as from other states. In Congress at this moment, the electoral votes were counted for the official announcement of Biden as president.
Trump insisted that he had more votes, and, in effect, threw the idea of moving towards the Capitol to the heated crowd to “greet the brave senators and congressmen.” Hotheads kicked out doors and broke into the building, some were armed. Trump was no longer in control of the situation.
The whole world saw how his supporters smas-hed windows, fought with the police and walked aro-und the Capitol. “Chaos and terror reigned there. Gas masks were handed out to legislators, then they w-ere evacuated,” USA Today described what was happening. Fifteen police officers were hospitalized, several dozen people were inj-ured, and five were killed, including a law enforcement officer and a woman.
Democrats and many Republicans have accused Trump of attempting a coup. Twitter and Facebook have blocked his accounts “for inciting disorder.” And the House of Representatives impeached him. After resigning, the Senate canceled this, and if desired, Trump will be able to run again.
Horns and spears
The rebels were searched for for several months. We applied a face recognition system. The police, the FBI and other intelligence agencies studied videos, photographs, publications on social networks, and geolocation data of smartphones. Ordinary Americans also helped, enthusiastically responding to the request to inform on friends. In total, about 500 people from 43 states were detained.
In Texas, he found his own Pavlik Morozov. Jackson Reffit turned his father over to the police, broke up with his family and left home. Reffit Sr. was a member of an ultra-right paramilitary group and believed that he was protecting the country’s basic values from tyranny.
Intelligence agencies have identified many radical associations that went to defend their convictions to the Capitol.
Some are associated with the QAnon conspiracy movement. According to its participants, the Trump team “is fighting the devil-worshiping pedophiles from the Democratic Party, Hollywood and the media industry.” One of them is Jacob Chensley, better known as Q-Shaman. A very striking character. Half-naked, wearing a fur hat with horns and a spear in his hand, he was waving a banner that read: “I was sent by Q”. In prison, he refused food, explaining that he was following a shamanic diet – he eats only organic products. Rumor has it that Chensley served in the Navy, but quit due to the fact that he did not want to be vaccinated against anthrax.
The prosecution requested four years and three months for him – for deliberate entry into the Capitol and violation of public order. He pleaded guilty and received three years and five months. Former MMA fighter Scott Fairlemb was given the same amount for assaulting a police officer.
“The guy with the pulpit” – Adam Johnson, who tried to take out the pedestal from the Capitol, from which the speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi speaks, was released on bail of 25 thousand dollars. But charges of theft and illegal entry still hang over him. Most of those arrested are under the article “Hooliganism”. Some are only charged with breaking curfews, entering the state or possessing weapons. The investigation continues. Sentences: six months to five years. Those who have distinguished themselves can face up to 20 years.
For example, Graydon Young from Florida, who attacked a police officer. A member of the Oath Keepers ultra-right group admitted that together with 15 accomplices he was planning an armed assault. According to him, there were weapons caches not far from the building. And he himself was part of the strike group and coordinated the actions of the protesters.
Not pogromists, but rebels
The first to be convicted was Anna Morgan-Lloyd from rural Indiana. She made a deal with the investigation, confessed to “hooligan behavior” and got off with a three-year suspended sentence with a $ 500 fine. All fines are directed towards the renovation of the Capitol. The thugs caused damage to the building for one and a half million.
According to Morgan-Lloyd, she went to Washington to listen to Trump. “I would have known what it would result in, I would never have gone,” she admits. She claims that she “not only repented of what she had done, but also reconsidered many views.” On the advice of a lawyer, I read the book “Calling Your Account” about wrongful sentences to African Americans and watched the movie “Schindler’s List.”
Many of the rioters, like Morgan-Lloyd, were not going to storm, did not let their hands go, and did not stay in the building for long.
However, the matter is not only in the events of January 6, society as a whole is strongly split, says Victoria Zhuravleva, head of the Center for North American Studies of the IMEMO RAS named after E. M. Primakov. “When Trump came to power in 2016, the political elite decided that it was an accident, an annoying failure of the system. The people who supported him were not taken seriously. The media repeated for four years that the president’s supporters were not very smart, calling them almost extremists They were given to understand that no one was interested in their opinion. This provoked a backlash and led to radicalization: since you are not listening to us, we ourselves will come to you, “the Americanist explains.
Andrei Kortunov, Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), agrees with this: “The American elite has become far removed from society, it does not understand what ordinary people need, and therefore does not represent their interests. Millions who voted for Trump saw that they are ignored, that with the help of the existing institutions and procedures they cannot convey their point of view to the authorities, and therefore they dared to undertake such a defiant action in the center of the American capital. “
The United States’ international image as a beacon of democracy was severely damaged, but the system survived. But the split in society has not gone anywhere. And now it is very difficult to unite Americans for the sake of some common ideas and goals.