The pluralism of Russian state TV knows no bounds – for better… or worse
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
First, an excerpt from this open letter to the Russian president from Leonid Gozman, leader of an all-Russian Public Union of Right Forces (URF): "On the 99th anniversary of the fall of monarchy in Russia"
To His Excellency Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation
Your Excellency Mr. President!
You have been in charge of our country for over 15 years now. Recently, the balance of successes and failures has obviously tipped into the red. And however much your propaganda may try to hide it, people are starting to sense it.
Quality of life is visibly in decline, the situation in the social sphere is deteriorating, real incomes are falling. You have failed to rid the country of its dependence on oil and to judge from your statements, you have no plan to break from the crisis.
You have made Russia an anathema to the whole world. The pivot towards the East, which you advertised, ended in nothing. We quarreled with our neighbors and we have no allies left at all. Sanctions and counter sanctions, like the arms race, provoked by your policy, are a heavy burden on our economy. Tens of millions of people have been forced to pay for your geopolitical ideas, which do not always seem well-founded.
Your Excellency, you must go. Your potential has been exhausted. The longer you stay in the Kremlin, the higher the likelihood events will develop according to a terrible scenario. [Wojciech] Jaruzelski and [Augusto] Pinochet, [Francisco] Franco and Alexander II were in a situation similar to yours. They managed to find a way out, albeit not an optimal one. You can do that too.
You can follow the example of the Poles and convene a roundtable, which will discuss ways of handing over power. From the roundtable's very composition, it will be clear whether you are seeking to find a solution or whether you simply want to temporize.
You can announce the handover of power for a transitional period to the State Duma and to a premier appointed by it. It is true that for the country to believe in the sincerity of your intentions, you will first have to ensure honest elections and not prevent your political opponents from entering parliament.
Of course, following your departure, hard times may begin. But they will be all the more protracted and, God forbid, all the bloodier the longer you cling to power. It is not that without you everything will instantly be fine, but that with you - and neither you nor anyone else is now able to influence that - things can only get worse.
Your Excellency, Mr. President, go! Go as soon as possible. That is the best thing you can do for Russia.
What does this have to do with pluralism you may ask? In the Internet era, all kinds of strange people are entitled to their opinions in marginal online outlets. Fair enough. I would not have even noticed this ‘open letter’ had it not been brought to my attention by foreign media. Moreover, when I tried to access the source, Ezhednevny Zhurnal, it was blocked for violating some government regulation.
Now watch this video of a round table discussion in prime time on Russia’s most popular state controlled TV1, soon after Russia intervened in Syria in October of last year.
Do you think Leonid Gozman was assassinated, arrested, or at least banned from the air afterwards? Well, Google his name on YouTube in 2016 – he is everywhere.
Who is Mr. Gozman and why is he on prime time TV all the time as a spokesperson for the ‘liberal opposition’ whose electoral results in this century could be counted within the margins of statistical error?
In 2007, when his URF last took part in Duma elections, they received 0.96 percent of the vote. Even the most savvy electoral observer would tell you that if there were electoral fraud, it was about taking votes away from the communists and giving them to the ‘party in power’ United Russia. There was nothing to steal from URF.
Let me explain a few important things. There are 2 "most hated" persons in Russia. The dead one is Boris Yeltsin, Russia’s first president. The living one is Anatoly Chubais, Yeltsin’s mastermind privatizer, who endowed Russia with an ugly class of oligarchs who gained invaluable public assets for the price of air.
Well, throughout these years Gozman had been Chubais’ right hand lieutenant. And I guess the main reason why this embodiment of ‘liberal’ and ‘European’ values is on TV all the time is that some smart editor thinks the Russian people should be reminded of the sinister clowns that ran the country from 1992-1999, lest they forget.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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