“Anti-Americanism”

There are eleven Russian words in this poster for the April 29 St. Petersburg Craft Event at Art Play SPb, and twenty-one English words. Photo by the Russian Reader

Oh, how they hate the United States!

My boon companion was just chatting with a neighbor lady, a woman who has lived in our building her whole life and makes the best salt pickles I have ever tasted.

As it happens, our neighbor is friendly with a member of our municipal district council.

If you follow the news from Russia closely, you would know that the beleaguered united opposition, led by Dmitry Gudkov, made significant inroads in Moscow’s municipal district councils during the last elections to these entities. One of the people thus elected, the young, well-known liberal politician Ilya Yashin, has now announced plans to challenge the incumbent, Sergei Sobyanin, during the next Moscow mayoral election.

In reality, municipal district councils are the lowest rung on the political totem poll in Russia. They have very little power and are perpetually too underfunded to do the work they are supposed to do.

However, since Russia’s ruling party, United Russia, is power hungry and paranoid, they try and stack the lowly municipal district councils with their own members.

God knows what could happen otherwise.

The municipal district council member with whom our neighbor is friendly is one such United Russia Party placeholder.

“And she’s a real louse,” my boon companion would add.

The councilwoman recently got back from a trip to the United States. It turns out her daughter and son-in-law have lived there for a long time. They have a big, beautiful house in Silicon Valley.

The councilwoman told all this to our neighbor lady, explaining how much she had enjoyed the trip and how much she liked the United States.

“Why did she have to tell ME this?” the neighbor lady asked my boon companion, “Why couldn’t she have told someone else?”

Remember this little story the next time you see Foreign Minister Lavrov or President Putin or the Russian Ambassador to the United Nations or Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova huffing and puffing and blowing America’s house down.

Everything they say is meant for domestic consumption only. They don’t really hate the United States. They just need a Big Enemy to occupy the minds of the Russian people, to distract them from their own more serious crimes and misdemeanors.

The con seems to be working so far. // TRR

msmomovladimirskyokrug.jpgOur humble municipal district newspaper, as published by our municipal district council. This is the one of two spots in our municipal where I know one can read it. Maybe there are more, but otherwise the newspaper is not distributed to the municipal districts’s residents, because the less they know about our municipal district’s business, the better, I guess. Photo by the Russian Reader

A Mass Grave for Journalists and Journalism?

"A dirty word!" Central District, Petersburg, July 18, 2016. Photo by the Russian Reader
“A dirty word!” Central District, Petersburg, July 18, 2016. Photo by the Russian Reader

Moscow. July 20. Interfax.Ru. Official Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has commented on the death of journalist Pavel Sheremet in Kiev.

“A car in which Pavel Sheremet was located has exploded in Kiev. [He was] a professional unafraid to speak his mind to power, to different regimes at different times. Ukraine (not the country, but the system) has become a mass grave for journalists and journalism,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

As if Russia itself weren’t a “mass grave for journalists and journalism.” It takes a lot of the wrong kind of chutzpah to lie and gangbang the truth like these blood monkeys do every single day of their lives.

And Ms. Zakharova’s unspoken implication that Russia, unlike Ukraine, is a “system” that encourages “telling truth to power” is really beyond perverse.

Let us take a tiny peak into the mass grave for journalists and journalism mighty Russia has dug over the past couple of decades.

In 2009, the International Federation of Journalists and the Russian Union of Journalist issued a report, entitled Partial Justice, “to gather evidence surrounding the 300 deaths and disappearances of journalists in Russia between 1993 and 2009.”

When it comes to media freedom more generally, Russia has also been going downhill on a trolley with no brakes over the past decade, and things are bound to get worse with the recent passage into law of the so-called Yarovaya package, which cracks down on individual privacy, privacy of correspondence and communication, freedom of speech, the right not to rat on one’s friends and acquaintances, the ability to speak one’s mind freely to power on social media, and lots of other things.

So what was Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zakharova crowing about? She was actually celebrating Pavel Sheremet’s death by pretending to speak from a place where such violence against journalists and journalism is impossible and unthinkable. But we all know that is a bald-faced lie, and she knows it too.

Why couldn’t she just keep her mouth shut? Isn’t that what the Russian government wants its subjects to do from now until kingdom come anyway? Why can’t the powers that be here also practice some tactful silence now and then?