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Back to the USSR

I have been obsessed with this news about Vasily Alexanyan today, and the subsequent censorship and intervention by some propaganda department within the Kremlin. As if the horrific fate of Alexanyan is not enough to bring back memories of the USSR, and leave open the possibility of Russian judicial officials ultimately being tried for crimes against humanity, we now have evidence of that old-style media manipulation that we know exists but rarely see displayed. Mikhail Gorbachev would not even have put up with such blatant tampering in the media – it runs completely opposite to perestroika. It is interesting that Interfax actually completed the work of journalism and published it to its site before we were able to observe this farce. Then, by the time the censors had the opportunity to review the piece, it was apparently deemed as too sympathetic, and struck down. Thankfully, the original Russian version was posted on Khodorkovsky.ru. For about two hours while the censors dithered, this place-holding piece of news was put up in its place, and then later an edited article appeared with significant differences from the original (for example, the newly edited article fails to mention his critical health status or the fact they had to remove his spleen). It’s so rare that we get to see Russian censorship in action … but that doesn’t make it any less reprehensible.