God Is Merciless, or, Mary Dejevsky


Since childhood I have had the habit of going to sleep listening to the radio. It would be a queer but innocent habit were it not for the fact that I had Lutheranism mainlined into my brain during childhood as well. I am thus perpetually a sinner in the hands of an angry god, and that god is frequently quite displeased with me. Or so it seems.

From time to time, Jehovah punishes me by putting the British journalist and Putin fan Mary Dejevsky on the radio as I am going to sleep.

Last night, she was on ABC Radio National’s Between the Lines, and she was in fine fettle.

Asked about the political crisis sparked by the pension reform in Russia, Dejevsky said she rather admired Vladimir Putin for spending some of his tremendous reserves of political capital and popularity by biting the bullet and trying to solve an objective problem so his “successor” would not have to solve it.

It is actually a good problem to have, this business of needing to raise the retirement age precipitously, Dejevsky argued, because it is premised on the supposedly happy alleged fact that Russians are, on average, living much longer than before, and that, we were meant to imagine, was due to Putin’s wise policies.

When the hapless Australian interviewer, Tom Switzer, asked her about the nationwide protests sparked by the proposed reform and the numerous arrests at those protests, Dejevsky dismissed them out of hand, claiming she had been to “provincial Russia” just last week, and things there were “peaceful.”

I won’t even go into Dejevsky’s sparkling defense of Putin’s illegal occupation of Crimea, which prefaced her lies about Putin’s popularity, the pension reform, and the supposedly sleepy provinces.

In case you are not a Lutheran occasionally punished by the Lord God Jehovah by having to listen to Mary Dejevsky in the middle of the night or by having to read the latest pro-Putinist tripe she has written, I would remind you she has long been gainfully employed by the Independent and the Guardian as a columnist, and she is a frequent guest on thoroughly respectable news outlets such as ABC Radio National, BBC Radio 4, etc.

It seemingly has not occurred to the smart, cynical folk working at these bastions of tough-minded journalism that Mary Dejevsky is a less than objective observer of the Russian scene.

The Lutheran god is a merciless god. {TRR}

Photo by the Russian Reader. This blog was slightly edited after I received legal threats from an electronic entity claiming to be Mary Dejevsky.

7 thoughts on “God Is Merciless, or, Mary Dejevsky

  1. As an Independent reader of longstanding, I would say that Mary Dejevsky is a very useful commentator on British issues but does tend to go easy on the Russian state. Sometimes her defence can be valid, but she does appear to me to lean one way. On the other hand, perhaps it is useful to read an alternative viewpoint. After all, even most dictatorships tend to have their strong points.

      1. Well, up until recently at least, many Russians have voted for him because they saw him as a figure of stability. Arguments I’ve heard: he’s the best of a bad bunch; much better than Gorbachev and Yeltsin were; it’s always been the deal, to be a rathole at home but powerful abroad. So I guess you could say that he has (or had) a certain legitimacy within public opinion. Many also hoped that the tax raids of some years back represented a move towards becoming ‘a normal country’; unfortunately, it seems likely that a lot of that income remained in private hands. I guess the law and order people liked him. Also, as with Belarus, pensioners had some feeling of financial security compared to the Yeltsin era. Of the above, the only one which really stands up is the ‘powerful abroad’ argument. Please do not take this as making me a fan, but while disagreeing with many of the Russians I’ve met, I think it would be arrogant of me to dismiss the viewpoint of so many. Hope that helps.

      2. It’s nice that you made your comment without considering in the least where you were making it. Have you been to Russia? Do you speak Russian? Do you know anything about the country? Have you bothered to any of the other 1,700+ entries on this blog?

      3. I’m sorry that you have decided to be abusive. I answered your question fully and in good faith. You did not ask me about these other things. For your information, I lived in Russia for some years and previously had visited many times. I do not feel obliged to answer your other questions, as you have posed them in a most aggressive manner.

      4. But it’s not “abusive” to suggest to the editor of an explicitly anti-Putinist blog, which has documented in detail the depredations of the regime on the Russian people (including pensioners) that the Putinist dictatorship has “strong points”?

      5. People may be interested in discussing matters objectively – for example, I would imagine that you want to see the man in court – so a thorough analysis is useful. Not a simple “Vova’s bad”, “Mary’s bad”, “we’re good”, which may not be taken seriously. My point was to explain that it might be helpful that a journalist may put the other side of the argument, especially as most of the English-speaking media is clearly anti-Putin. In any case, you asked me to clarity the ‘strong points’, which I did. I am sorry that you consider the expression of a somewhat different point of view to be abusive, while waving aside your own, rather condescending, questioning.

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