Take Audiences for 'Idiots with no Memory' (Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland)
canon of Kremlin propagandists is to give voice only to their own people,
meaning Russia’s rulers and their entourage as well as select foreigners
suffering under the yoke of the European Union. … The Kremlin propagandists - and
their daily toil gives us an abundance of examples - take their public for
complete idiots who don’t even remember what they heard a moment before, not to
mention in any longer time frame."
Moscow:Open Russia, the foundation
of Mikhail Khodorkovsky who was famously banished from
the country, held a teleconference with their founder last early last month. It
turns out that official Russia proved to be very much closed, stubbornly
locking all of its doors, windows and vents.
The hotel where the former owner of Yukos
Oil and former state Prisoner #1 was to tell his fellow citizens via teleconference
what he thinks of Russia’s situation was surrounded by police. Then the
electricity was cut and the premises went dark when there was a bomb scare.
When the participants weren't frightened off by the alleged bomb and rigged up
an electric generator, the loudspeakers supposedly deprived of electricity came
to life and emitted the deafening siren of a police car sitting in front of the
In spite of all this, Khodorkovsky
managed to say that what Vladimir Putin is doing today is leading the country
to a catastrophe like that of 1917 when a revolution led to chaos, confusion
and millions of victims.
Drowning out inconvenient voices is a normal part of the
agenda here. A week ago I was at a meeting with Boris Akunin.
The writer, known for his dissident views, had to talk about his books over a
stream of constant messages from loudspeakers in the room. He's talking about
his character ErastFandorin,
while the loudspeakers announce that "Sasha is looking for Masha."
These are primitive tricks, however, not worthy of true
masters of kicking sand into people's eyes. Yesterday evening, Dmitry Kiselyov [video above] gave his once-a-week master class in
that art via The Week’s News, a two
and a half hour journalistic diatribe to the nation on Russia 1, a government TV channel.
The basic canon of Kremlin propagandists is to give voice
only to their own people, meaning Russia’s rulers and their entourage as well
as select foreigners suffering under the yoke of the European Union.
Those who practice actual politics in the West have no right
to be heard on Russian TV; they are only discussed and commented on, unless
their words can be cut and stitched together into something pleasing to the
French President François Hollande, who last month stopped
in Moscow on his way to the Kazakh capital of Astana to talk to Vladimir Putin,
was granted a live slot by Kiselyov for the French
leader to thank his host for "finding the time" to meet him and to say
that he had listened to Putin's speech to the Duma
and the world [video, above]. That was more than enough time for Hollande,
since before his appearance, Kiselyov had already spent
quite some time extolling Putin’s speech, which he asserted was like "a
voice from above" for Russians.
According to Kiselyov, the French
president traveled to Russia over "French guilt." For
what he didn't elaborate - apparently for everything. Anyway, that isn't
important. What matters is that viewers see the truth: Hollande visited Putin to
Now it was the turn of Angela Merkel, who, as the television
informed viewers, is "an adventuress" who "cannot plan her moves
more than two weeks in advance." There was a lot of talk about her, but
Merkel herself wasn't allowed to speak.
A few phrases by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry were permitted
to reach Russian ears. Russia 1 broadcasted
a fragment of his statement on the difficult situation in the Middle East,
further complicated by the fact that to the United States, Bashar al-Assad is
not the legitimate president of Syria.
The Kremlin propagandists - and their daily toil gives us an
abundance of examples - take their public for complete idiots who don’t
remember what they heard a moment before, let alone any longer time frame.
On News there was
a lot said about Moldova; it was the Moldovans who Kiselyov,
this time, cast in the role of poor souls gasping under the yoke of Europe; it
was they who assured us from the TV screen that "like the air we breathe,
Russia is necessary to us."
That's because somehow it turns out that the apples and
other fruits of Moldovans are rotting, because for reasons unexplained by the
TV (probably due to Brussels' intrigues) they cannot sell them to Russians.
They would so like to, and Moscow is eager to help if only it could.
The Russian viewer isn't supposed to remember that far back
- way back in July, when following Kremlin orders, Moscow’s sanitary-political
agencies found a veritable bouquet of poisons and pests in Moldovan fruit and
vegetables, thus forbidding their importation to save Russian consumers from a
horrible fate. That's the official version. The truth is that is wasn't
Brussels but Moscow that punished Moldova - for its European aspirations.
In any case, the events of last July and the protection of
Russians from Moldova's forbidden fruit is water under the bridge. Another
story is that the Moldovan elections were carried out only a week before.
According to Kiselyov’s triumphant
announcement, "a majority" of votes were won by the pro-Russia
Socialist Party. Twenty one percent may be some distance away from "a
majority," but that isn't by far the strangest mathematics Moscow has
seen. Head of the Central Election Committee Vladimir Churov
calculated once that "146 percent of voters opted for the party in power."
Arithmetic is thus no obstacle to announcing another Kremlin
success, even if in reality supporters of a European and not a Russian
orientation have a decisive majority in the Moldovan parliament.
This information, however, didn't reach viewers. It was
drowned out by triumphant drums and trumpets. Russians - the vast majority of
which get their information about Russia and the modern world from state-owned
TV, learned only that their country and its leader were successful again and "Moldova