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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Television responds asymmetrically

The main problem of Putin and his information aides is that they are trying to tackle 21st-century problems with 19th-to-mid-20th-century methods
13 September, 2018 - 10:56

The Union of Russian Journalists (URJ) has suggested licensing for video bloggers. In the view of this organization, this is necessary for combating fake news.

“One of the main problems now is fake news. If we do not combat this, such a huge wave will sweep over the world in a few years’ time that nobody will be able to tell the lies from the truth,” says Vladimir Solovyov who chairs the “union of journalists” in a country, where the chief producer of lies is state-run media. According to Solovyov, the state must decide which of the supervised individuals will enjoy the right to place their video in social media and which ones will be strictly forbidden to do so. The motives of URJ head Solovyov are clear. The audience of such fake newsmakers as he and his namesake V.R. Solovyov mostly consists of the over-50s who are extremely enraged at the predatory pension scheme. Young people do not watch this television at all, preferring Dud’ and Navalny. The only way to fight this is a ban. To tell the truth, the obscurantism of this proposal of the URJ boss is compensated with its absolute impracticability. As far as I remember, a law has already been passed on mandatory registration as media of bloggers with an audience of more than 3,000. Hey, prohibitors! Where is your prohibition? When people, who consider iron-hand mentality the backbone of a personality and the prison camp a home, find themselves in the open country, they set up a barrier in the hope of being able to control the movement of free travelers. They hardly succeed, though.

As television is losing to video bloggers and the influence of Solovyov- and Kiselyov-like newsmen is on the wane, Putin’s Russia is suffering one defeat after another on the international arena. The latest of these is an absolutely unambiguous statement of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew that Constantinople is determined to grant autocephaly to Kyiv, as well as a speech of British Prime Minister Theresa May who said the Skripals had been poisoned by Russian intelligence officers on the orders of Russia’s leadership.

The problem of Putin’s Russia is that it is totally unable to respond to these challenges. It has just no instruments to prevent the liberation of Ukrainian Orthodoxy from Muscovite captivity. Putin’s Russia has such a reputation that none of its words and deeds will convince the world that the Scotland Yard is telling lies, the Skripals got poisoned with stale beer, and the two intelligence officers on the photo are ordinary tourists from the back of beyond. Of course, if the Kremlin finally loses the feeling of self-preservation, they may invent something like a “Chinese draw,” when a player drops figures a few moves before the defeat and turns over the chessboard. Something can be done to the Patriarch of Constantinople: for example, to poison all hierarchs or secretly persuade Istanbul police to imprison them for drug peddling. They can resort to a new provocation so that the world forgets about the Skripals. This will not only not save the situation for the Kremlin but will inevitably complicate it and speed up the regime’s collapse. Russia will never again become the main player on the field of worldwide Orthodoxy. Russia will never be able to deceive the globe by showing it the way to a deadlock, as was the case in the Soviet era.

For want of real responses, the Kremlin responds asymmetrically – it switches on television at full blast. Vladimir Solovyov responded asymmetrically to hostile challenges in the “Evening” program on September 5, 2018. The “Orientalist” Bagdasarov said that Patriarch Bartholomew is a “man of straw,” and it is not he but some mysterious “other people” who made a decision on autocephaly. “The state must stand up with all its might for its citizens in Ukraine, including our believers,” Bagdasarov demanded. And, as usual, he began to throw a scare: “What Poroshenko is after – autocephaly – is a terrible thing!” Solovyov immediately supported him: “God forbid this happens! A religious war will break out!”

Then the “political scientist” Mikheyev joined the religion-related debate, announcing: “A schism in the worldwide Orthodoxy is in the offing!” Solovyov immediately agreed with him, saying meaningfully: “The year 1054!” Comparing the current defeat of the Russian Orthodox Church with the Great Schism that shaped the destiny of Europe for a thousand years is an overt manifestation of megalomania which Putin’s inner circle and information aides are inclined to.

To rebuff Theresa May, the “Evening” studio got in touch with the London-based “political scientist” Aleksandr Nekrasov who always introduces himself as former advisor of Boris Yeltsin. If it is true, this only proves that the late Yeltsin was a poor judge of character, which is also confirmed by another job placement whose consequences Russia and the whole globe have been facing for almost 20 years now. Nekrasov is known for many original ideas, including the claims that “Putin could also win elections in Britain” and that Boris Nemtsov was killed near the Kremlin by runaway oligarchs. “Experts” of this kind are in special demand on Russian television today.

To prove Russia’s non-participation in the attempted murder of the Skripals, “political scientist” Nekrasov asked a rhetorical question: “Does Russia need this? There must be some motive.” He added that “the best minds” still cannot understand why Russia should want to kill Skripal. The fact that Sergey Skripal is the former colonel of the General Intelligence Directorate and was convicted in Russia for espionage, while people with such facts in their life stories tend, for some reason, to die a violent death, failed to prompt “the best minds” the real motive for killing Skripal. Yet Nekrasov himself immediately identified the reason why Theresa May is blaming Russia.

It turns out that “Britain is in a very difficult economic situation.” The “political scientist” Nekrasov’s face beamed sympathy for the hapless British. “Two million children starved in Britain throughout August!” Nekrasov spoke out in anger, barely checking tears in his voice. At this moment, I suddenly recalled the numerous clips that showed kindhearted Russian women from “Putin squads,” who sympathize with ordinary Americans and are ready to shelter and save them from American hell.

Meanwhile, “political scientist” Nekrasov was putting the wind up: “The situation here (in the West) is desperate. Japan has touched rock bottom. Germany has fallen. In America, things are not as sweet as everybody thinks. Their ‘Facebooks’ cost billions, but they create nothing.”

The office called URJ suggests quite reasonably that licenses be introduced for video bloggers. The point is that you can only believe what people like Nekrasov, Bagdasarov, and Solovyov are saying if you know nothing about the world. But if, in addition to the lies that blare from the TV screen, people come to know that the average pension is 102,000 rubles, i.e. 7.7 times as high as in Russia, in Japan which is on the rocks, 93,000 rubles, i.e. 6.8 times as high as in Russia, in Germany which has fallen, the lazy and benign indifference of most Russians to the leadership and its TV liars can give way to virulent hatred.

The main problem of Putin and his information aides is that they are trying to tackle 21st-century problems with 19th-to-mid-20th-century methods, namely, with lies, bans, and violence. This tactic no longer works. There are only flops ahead.

By Igor YAKOVENKO, Moscow, special to The Day

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