Fund Raising in Russia without Reason nor Candidate

Reuben F. Johnson at the Weekly Standard writes about the amusing case of Sergei Zhiltsov and Vladimir Barinov of United Russia, who were fired for suspected fraud for having solicited campaign contributions for Dmitri Medvedev before he was even registered as a candidate. Johnson wonders why Medvedev, who is independently wealthy, and can rely on disproportionate television coverage, regional support, and suppression of any potential rival, would even need to waste money emulating a Western-style touring campaign. With regard to Russia’s reactions to any criticism of their democratic process, Johnson finds an excellent quote:

In an interview that the late Senator Daniel Moynihan gave to New Yorker correspondent Jeffrey Toobin in1999 he said that “Hannah Arendt had it right. She said one of the great advantages of the totalitarian elites of the Twenties and Thirties was to turn any statement of fact into a question of motive.” This perfectly characterizes the response by one of Russia’s leading political analysts, Sergei Markov, who is also now a newly-elected Duma member and one of the select few talking heads with the Kremlin’s blessing to push the party line to the Western press.. “You can listen to everything they say, except when it comes to Russia,” said Markov to the Times. “There are many Russophobes there.”