Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Some news from Russia

Some of my readers may have missed the fascinating news we are getting from Russia about the destruction of perfectly good food and some serious grumblings from the usually apathetic population about that. In fact, there have been some questions whether the food might not have been donated to orphanages or old-people's homes. The destruction of food, I suspect, appears as a more heinous crime than the destruction of media freedom in many Russian eyes. (I shall now wait for the various lectures I shall receive on the subject of Russian attitudes.)

On the other hand, I am rather impressed by the sight of Russian patriotic food patrols [same link]:
This week a group of girls in T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan "Eat Russian" descended on a Moscow supermarket and began scouring the shelves for sanctioned foreign goods. Their raid eventually unearthed some illicit French cheese and bags of German nuts.

"This is prohibited!" the food patriots declared to a somewhat stunned-looking store manager, before slapping "sanctioned" stickers on the items, complete with a roaring Russian bear.

The girls believe the new law will stop such items reaching Russian shelves. Many banned items have entered through Belarus, after repacking and relabelling.

"Now everyone will know that there are sanctions," Anna explains. "If they try to get produce through now, it will be burned."
Iron Felix Dzerzhinsky and his various successors would have approved.

Meanwhile, an Estonian border guard who appears to have been kidnapped by Russian Security Forces while investigating smuggling carried out by members of those Forces, has been sentenced to 15 years hard labour despite the various protests that have poured in from the West. The Russian authorities have just created another martyr for the West to focus on with a second one in the offing.
Kohver's sentence coincided with the climax of another controversial trial, involving Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov.

Prosecutors in Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia have called for Mr Sentsov to be jailed for 23 years, on charges of organising a terrorist group and planning terrorist attacks in Crimea.
It's like the Russian government does not care what anyone inside or outside the country thinks about it. And you know what? They probably do not though one day they might, when the long-suffering Russian people take to the streets. History has recorded many such events and they were not happy ones.

One would like to think that the first one to suffer (after Vlad himself naturally) would be his adviser Dmitry Peskov, whose affluent lifestyle has been analyzed by Alexei Navalny (whose brother has just been sentenced to 15 days solitary confinement in the labour camp he is in) but I strongly suspect that come the bloodshed, Mr Peskov and his delightful bride will find refuge in .... well why not some choice borough of London? I cannot believe that Mr Peskov has not been stashing some money away in property abroad, just in case.

We were all very excited when Shaun Walker managed to produce a Putin in an animal or water based exploit photo though, thankfully, the man had kept his shirt on. Apparently, there were no amphorae at the bottom of the sea this time. President Putin "submerged on board C-Explorer 3 bathyscaphe into the waters of the Black Sea outside Sevastopol on Aug. 18, 2015, to explore a shipwreck". How could that be managed without Vlad the Great?

And finally, a great story that reminds me of some of the best Soviet ones. Unfortunately, the full story is in the Wall Street Journal, which is far behind the pay wall but the beginning of Mikhail Khodorkovsky's article made me smile nostalgically:
"Where is Garry Kasparov?" asked many Russians recently, when they discovered that the famed chess player was missing from the new edition of a book celebrating the achievements of Russia's largest athletic association, Spartak - of which Kasparov was a member. It turns out that an article about Kasparov had been removed at the last minute. The message was clear: No achievement can trump political loyalty, and for Kasparov, a harsh critic of the Kremlin, the doors to the Russian version of the sports hall of fame are currently closed.
An unperson, by Stalin.


  1. If they think the food is "illegal" it would be better not to delete it but send to poor people. Mikhail

    1. Agree but that is not how their minds work, as you know. The real question is how long will the people of Russia tolerate this behaviour.