The acerbic and often controversial Novaya gazeta is now available in English. Check it out.
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By Sean — 10 years ago
Kommersant has an interview with Elena Shestopal, the deputy chair of the Political Psychology Department at MGU, on how Russian society views the inevitable election of Dmitri Medvedev. I think the title of the interview, “Thus far Medvedev’s character remains unclear in the consciousness of the masses” says it all. Here is an excerpt.
Almost 3/4 of Russians are prepared to vote for Dmitri Medvedev. Do the people trust the authorities so strongly?
They trust Vladimir Putin personally. Around his person we are seeing the complete consolidation of society in Post-Soviet times. Thus far Medvedev’s character remains unclear in the consciousness of the masses. When we ask people who they will vote for, we hear Medvedev’s name on rare occasions. Usually they answer: “It’s clear for who. Why do you ask?” or “What is to become of us?” Such answers signify the fatality of society and at the same time are angry that “they’ve decided for us.” We’ve monitored the pre-election mood in society since the beginning of the 1990s. Before the anger was that “they betrayed us” etc. But this — “They’ve decided for us and they’ve imposed it on us,” this is the first time it’s happened.
If the people vote “as necessary,” what’s the difference if he’s angry?
Any power needs the genuine, emotional support of the population. Presently the anger means that people perfectly understand that they are manipulated. It means that the PR-industry, which has achieved the consolidation of society, has approached its limit. And if the authorities don’t back off from them, entirely different processes will begin.
What are those processes?
A society which doesn’t seriously believe in the authorities but makes the best with them are very cynical. The people could say to the leadership, “We give you the impression that we trust you, but you then create the impression that you respect us.” After this people become more demanding than they were before. And the authorities can’t give them anymore than they could before. There begins develop mutual discontent among the authorities and in society.
You said that the people still believe in Putin. And he remains as the state’s steering wheel.
Mass consciousness still has not decided how to react to the future tandem. They trust Putin, and not the authorities because in the mass consciousness the president is detached from the system of power according to the age old tradition of separating the Tsar from the Boyars. The President is the symbol of power, and the Prime Minister is only a manager. The change in Putin’s position can turn out and change his value in the eyes of society, which is accustomed to there only being one Tsar.Post Views: 124
By Sean — 10 years ago
Here’s another eXile update courtesy of Ames in Radar. The Russian liberal media tempest is swirling overhead. Is The eXile the next Cindy Sheehan of the Russian opposition? Getting the attention of the Russian government is bad enough. But becoming a potential poster child for a desperate Russian opposition? If I was Ames I would head for zee hills. Read for yourself:
Today is “Russia Day.” It’s the official holiday when Russians celebrate their independence—from their own empire. On June 12, 1990, the Russian Republic’s parliament passed a resolution declaring “sovereignty” from the USSR, paving the way for Russia to “free” itself from the 14 other republics it had spent centuries conquering. It would be like Mexico celebrating February 2, 1848—the day Santa Anna was forced to sign away California and the entire Southwest to the gringos—as “Mexico Day.”
Which may explain why Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti grimly announced, “Unfortunately, the name of this holiday disorients the people completely.”
Whatever. Today’s a holiday, so I should relax and enjoy the party and forget about the fact that I’m under attack. For the celebration here in Moscow, the Kremlin is flying in none other than former French president Jacques Chirac, so that Medvedev can pin a medal on the old whore’s saggy man-boobs, to honor his “contribution to promoting Russian culture”—exactly what my paper is accused of not doing properly enough. I guess you don’t get Kremlin medals when you headline your paper that you “dare to fart in Russia’s face.” But that doesn’t explain why Chirac would agree to make such a complete ass out of himself on the world stage. It would be like flying to Riyadh so the king could honor you with a “Female Driving Instructor of the Year” sash.
Perhaps Chirac came just for the after-party. Now that Medvedev is the new tsar, he has the authority to hire his favorite band to play at his Red Square Russia Day party—and wouldn’t you know, he chose none other than Uriah Heep to rock the Kremlin walls down. If you’ve never heard of Uriah Heep—and 99 percent of you haven’t—you’re missing out: They’re a real-life Spinal Tap classic-rock outfit that packs stadiums from Smolensk to Kamchatka, even though they couldn’t land a gig on open-mike night in a Tuscaloosa saloon. True to their Spinal Tap calling, Uriah Heep pulled out of their Red Square gig today at the last minute, fucking up Medvedev’s classic rawk party, which their website blames on the “tour promoters [sic] complete lack of adherence to contractual stipulations.” I can imagine how the Heep fell out with their promoters: “You call this a sandwich, huh, Vladimir? I don’t want this! Because, look, you have to fold it like this, and then … no, it’s a fucking joke, really. I can’t do this, I won’t go to fucking Belarus if I can’t get a proper fucking sandwich.”
Read on . . .
Post Views: 123
By Sean — 9 years ago
As many already know, human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and Novaya gazeta journalist Anastasia Baburova were gunned down in Moscow near the Kropotkinskaya metro on Monday afternoon. According to reports, a man in a green ski mask approached Markelov from behind and unloaded a few rounds into his head, execution style. Baburova was seriously injured when she tried to intervene. She died in a local hospital a few hours earlier. The gunman fled the scene.
Kommersant gives this description of the killing:
At 2:45 p.m. Stanislav Markelov exited the International Press Center with Novaya gazeta journalist Anastasia Baburova. They went down Prechistenka toward the Koprotkinskaya metro station. The assailant, a young man of around 180 cm height, dressed in a black trench coat. dark jeans and a green ski mask, went from across the street towards them. He followed he followed his victims for several minutes, and then, not far from the metro, he crossed the street and shot the lawyer in the back of the head with a pistol with a silencer. After Stanislav Markelov fell, the killer quickly made his way down Gogolevskii boulevard. Shocked by the incident, Anastasia Baburova gathered herself, screamed, and what eyewitnesses say, she instinctively went after the murder. That sealed her fate. The criminal turned back and shot the young woman in the head. “Not many men would dare act in such a situation as she did,” Dmitrii Muratov the editor-in-chief of Novaya gazeta told Kommersant. According to him, Anastasia was a night student in the journalism department at MGU, and had worked for the newspaper since October of last year. Her writings dedicated to investigating the activities of neo-fascist groups. She died from her wounds in the evening. She never regained consciousness.
Robert Amsterdam has already done a rapid fire blitz of posts on the incident. I recommend readers to point their mouse there.
Markelov was clearly the victim of a contract killing. He was representing the family of Elza Kungayeva, 18, a Chechen woman who was allegedly raped then strangled to death by Colonel Yuri Budanov in 2000. Budanov was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2005, but was paroled after serving three for “good behavior.” Markelov called his release “illegal” and fought to keep the defrocked colonel behind bars. Budanov walked nevertheless. Now he has his revenge.
The Russian news coverage has been extensive. Reactions have been quick. More will certainly be forthcoming in the days ahead. Suffice to say that the murders prove that Medvedev’s “legalistic” Russia is no safer for human rights workers, lawyers, or journalists than Putin’s Russia. Hopefully, Medvedev won’t make the same mistake his mentor did by keeping silent after the Politkovskaya murder. All international eyes will be focused on Russia waiting for any gesture of recognition on the part of the President. For as Sergei Mitrokhin, the leader of Yabloko, stated that “This crime shows that political murder remains a determinant in Russian society.” Unfortunately, he’s right.
Here is Russia Today‘s report:Post Views: 123