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Visiems besidomintiems įvykiais mūsų didžiojoje kaimynėje rekomenduoju perskaityti straipsnį, šiandien spausdinama “The Moscow Times”. Tikrai verta dėmesio analizė atkreipianti dėmesį į svarbias kanotacijas tarp dabartinės Rusijos politinio elito veikimo būdų ir sovietinio, kurio geriausias reprezentantas Stalinas.

Iškart atsiprašau, kad tekstas neišverstas, bet laikas, tiksliau jo trūkumas neleidžia šio teksto padaryti prieinamu visiems lietuviškai kalbantiems žmonėms.

Echoes of the Kirov Murder

is often very difficult to watch Russia Today, the government-owned
English-language global satellite television channel that was tasked
with creating a positive image of Russia abroad. It has consistently
presented the Kremlin version of Alexander Litvinenko’s murder: that he
was poisoned by Boris Berezovsky or the British secret services. In
classic KGB style, someone is found to claim that the British tried to
recruit him into the Litvinenko-Berezovsky circle of agents.

It is the sort of thing that has an almost comic effect when presented in the West.


Inside Russia, perhaps this kind of broadcast sounds
normal. After all, the state controls all the major television media,
and Russians have a natural patriotic wish to believe the message –
particularly when the media insist that the government had no role
whatsoever in the murder.


But in the West, this sort of stuff would not pass
the smell test. It reeks of trying to shift the blame — projection of
blame, to use the psychiatric term.


It also reeks of what could be called “the Syrian
defense.” Each time a leading anti-Syrian figure is killed in Lebanon,
Syrian leaders say the opposition forces in Lebanon did it in order to
embarrass Syria and harm its international standing. It is as if they
are copying from President Vladimir Putin’s book, or vice versa. These
lines become standard fare in the controlled media at home. In reality,
the anti-Putin forces in Russia and London are afraid of getting
knocked off by Putin, not by Berezovsky.



Is Russia sinking to the Syrian level?


Russia’s political culture leaves a lot to be
desired. It should be setting its standards much higher. Moscow
portrays itself as a Christ-like victim with a God-like omnipotence
that the opposition aggressively tries to besmirch by convoluted and
demonic scheming.


It is possible to sink even lower. The whole episode
reflects a culture buried deeply in the KGB tradition. In the Soviet
era, anyone remotely tied to the opposition was forced to confess to
the crime of undermining the country’s progress.


This became a systemic practice beginning in 1929.
After the prominent early Bolshevik leader, Sergei Kirov, was murdered
in 1934 at Stalin’s behest, Stalin claimed that the opposition was
guilty of the crime. Stalin used the killing as a pretext for a mass
purge and murder of literally millions of Soviets.


The Litvinenko killing has certain echoes of the
Kirov murder. In both cases, the real evidence is ignored or covered
up, while the state becomes preoccupied with finding a scapegoat.


Most of the moderate and liberal forces — from
Kremlin spin doctor Gleb Pavlovsky to former Prime Minister Yegor
Gaidar — wanted to stay on good terms with Putin. They supported the
official Kremlin line: It was Putin’s enemies who killed Litvinenko.
The only difference was that they said it was Putin’s hard-line
political enemies from the conservative wing who did it, not liberals
like Berezovsky. Did they hope to prove their loyalty and escape
Putin’s wrath?


Russia’s response had its own bizarre logic. For
months, the authorities were ambiguous as to who should be labeled as
the killer. But when Britain demanded former security services officer
Andrei Lugovoi’s extradition, Russia went on the counterattack,
organizing a standing-room-only Lugovoi press conference that was
broadcast in detail on the government-owned television stations.


Some Russian commentators have already risen to an
even higher level of conspiracy theory, seeing in this whole episode a
British plot to rally Europe and the United States against Russia. At
the same time, they urge Russia to use the old Soviet geopolitical
strategy of trying to drive a wedge between Europe and the United


While Russia relies on the “Syrian defense,” China in
turn has started using the “Russian defense.” Faced with multiple
product-contamination scandals, China has executed the head of its food
and drug regulatory agency. More important, it has gone on a public
relations campaign, attacking U.S. exports for their health defects and
citing misleading statistics to argue that the U.S. record is equally
bad. China complains that it is a victim of unfair treatment and
“double standards.” It’s the exact same complaint the Foreign Ministry
has made about the British for demanding Lugovoi’s extradition while
refusing to extradite Berezovsky back to Russia for a trial. “Double
standard” is what we hear from the Russian elite any time there is any
criticism of Russia about anything.


In these ways, the authoritarians of the world have
found a common defense that close themselves off, airtight, from facts
and criticism. They can kill their enemies and blame it on those same
enemies. They can claim that their enemies must have committed the
murder, since the resulting international scandal led to bad publicity
for the regime. They can complain of the “double standards” of the
Western media and of anyone who makes the rather logical assumption
that the regime itself is a prima facie suspect.


For the authoritarian regimes to make themselves seem
like big-time victims, however, they have to insert a further premise:
that the Western media wield enormous global power, one far more
terrible than regimes that might kill an odd opponent here or there. It
is an argument that could warm the heart of U.S. conservatives and
neo-conservatives, who, faced with incessant disagreement from the
media and intelligentsia, have also created a high level of criticism
of the power and prejudices of the intellectual class.


This media criticism, however, is a poor substitute
for open thinking and debate about the issues raised in the media.
Governments that let themselves be guided by it have a disturbing
tendency to insulate themselves from facts, lose the benefits of media
checks and balances, and go off the deep end.


Conservatives in the modern West tend to be more
sober. They know when they are exaggerating for the sake of politics
and cherish the same free media that they love to criticize. Cruder
regimes, however, such as the counterrevolutionary, fascist and Nazi
movements of the last century, don’t want to merely complain and vent
their paranoia about the media and intellectuals. They want to act on
the paranoia.


The Putin regime has been prone to act on its
paranoia and on its seemingly unquenchable hatred of individuals and
institutions that have crossed it. The damage to Russian institutions
has been slowly accumulating over the years since 1999. Unfortunately,
it could go much further.


Ira Straus is U.S. coordinator of the Committee on Eastern Europe and Russia in NATO, an independent NGO.

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Komentarai (1)

  1. kostia:

    tas kirovas irgi buvo geras sūka. Bet va kaip sakoma " гебешные поладки остались те же" pagarba Jums kolega. Nekenčiu organiškai komuniagu ir visų kgb-fsb.

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