Wednesday, May 08, 2013


- Alexey Navalny's reflections on Monday's rally, in English.

- Boris Akunin, on how his speech at the rally in which he warned Russia's celebrities not to collaborate with the "police state" was misinterpreted - he was describing a possible future, not the present: 
1. In my speech I repeated several times that I was talking about the situation when Russia will finally turn into a police state.
So far the judicial reprisals have been fragmentary, spasmodic: the Yukos case, Pussy Riot. But now we await a wave of convictions (in the cases of Alexey Navalny and Aksana Panova, and the "May 6" case). And then our authoritarian state will move from a relatively herbivorous phase into one of primary cannibalism People with a name, with a reputation will, as previously, find it impossible to live in such a situation. Otherwise their name will remain, but they will have to say goodbye to their reputation.
2. I am not calling for a boycott of the state and all its institutions, for a rejection of state subsidies, state grants or state salaries. That money is all yours and mine, Putin won't get it out of his own pocket. He has the power, but not the state, which is not equivalent to the presidential administration and the Investigative Committee. A boycott of the state is something else entirely. It's a campaign of civil disobedience, the direct prologue to a revolution. Perhaps one day the situation will come to something like that, but that wasn't what I was talking about. And I was addressing some quite specific people.
- The Times (UK) writes about Boris Berezovsky's will. In The Interpreter, Alexander Goldfarb looks at Berezovsky's death in terms of theatre:
The interrelations inside and among the triangle of Sasha-Volodya-Boris, which ended with the polonium murder of Litvinenko and Berezovsky’s suicide on the banks of the Thames rise to the level of a Shakespearean drama not only because the backdrop includes untold wealth, the fate of the throne and the relations of states but because of the clash of characters and the play of passions; here there are loyalty, and betrayal, and revenge.
-  RFE/RL's Berlin correspondent Yury Veksler on the continuing topicality of Joseph Goebbels and his Ministry of Propaganda:
Nonetheless, Joseph Goebbels is probably the only one of the Nazi leaders whose legacy, alas, is still relevant today. Almost every authoritarian regime, in building up its propaganda system, voluntarily or involuntarily bases itself on the techniques and methods that were once developed and tested by Goebbels's ministry. It is fortunately true that since then the level of skill - and fanaticism - of most of the propagandists has clearly diminished. It is hard, for example, to imagine Joseph Goebbels saying the following: "I'm not really a liberal, but I don't know whether I'm a conservative either. I try not to attach myself anywhere: for the most part it doesn't matter, because I'm a member of the presidential administration, working for the head of state, and my convictions are my own business " These are the words of Vladislav Surkov, who enjoys the reputation of the main propagandist of the current Russian regime. Propaganda that is not much believed even by its own creators is unlikely to be truly effective. Here Dr. Goebbels might have a lot to tell.

Update: Surkov has been fired. Or did he resign of his own volition?

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