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Grigory Pasko: Adventures in Russian Marketing

Free cheese or Marketing, Russian style Grigory Pasko, journalist Если Вы хотите прочитать оригинал данной статьи на русском языке, нажмите сюда. This morning I got a phone call at home from Galina Starozhilova, an employee of the municipality of Maryino, who invited me to pick up some gift certificates for my son to the entertainment center Fentezi-Park at office No. 4. I thanked her, thinking that I’d have to drop by the municipality some time. But then I remembered that somewhere in the house I’d already seen such a certificate, not used by my son. I found it and started attentively reading everything that was written on it. And here’s what I discovered. kupon092908 Read the fine print: “On Friday, Saturday, Sunday, on holidays and days of school vacations the certificate is not valid!”

On the gift certificate coupon for five free games at the games entertainment center Fentezi-Park, that’s in the Moscow district of Maryino, is written: “Certificate is valid on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 11:00 to 23:00”. In this place a child who has gotten such a certificate is crying tears of joy and doesn’t read any further. Which is too bad, because further is written what is the most, to my view, interesting: “On Friday, Saturday, Sunday, on holidays and days of school vacations the certificate is not valid!”. That is, in the opinion of the managers and marketologists [one of Russia’s unique professions, along with political technologists—Trans.] of the gaming center, children can entertain themselves for free exclusively on days of school lessons. And even better – instead of the lessons.It goes without saying that I telephoned the municipality. The receiver was lifted by Natalia Fedchenko, specialist of the 1st category for the protection of the rights of children of the municipality of Maryino rayon. It turned out that she knows about the certificates. I asked if she knows what’s written on them in fine print. It turned out that she does. But considers that the municipality should be grateful to Fentezi-park for their benevolence. Yes, but if a child is physically not capable of making use of this benevolence, then who needs it? Giving it some thought, Natalia Fedchenko agreed with me that this is a kind of mockery of the very concept of “benevolence”.Some more was thought: that’s the way it is with democracy in our country, too. It is applied only on certain days and at certain hours. And even then with such convolutions (distortions, perversions – take your pick) that even the management of the gaming center would be jealous. Thus it was, for example, with the elections. Apparently – a democratic procedure. But adversaries of the ruling regime were not given access to participation in the elections at all. There were no debates whatsoever with the ruling clan. Not infrequently at enterprises conditions would be laid out for the workers: either you vote for the party United Russia and Putin-Medvedev, or we will fire you from your job.How is this different from Fentezi-park with its “either come during school time and play for free, or pay money”?And that’s how it was with the war with Georgia: nobody of the Russian leadership explained to the people why they, the leadership, are sucking the Russian people into a war with the friendly-towards-us Georgian people.And that’s how it was with “freedom of speech, Putin-style”. The “freedom” consisted of the federal pro-state mass information media telling us from morning till night how horrible and bad president of Georgia Saakashvili is and that Russia will “save its citizens”. About how what the Russian peacekeepers were actually doing (there is evidence of facts of looting and pillaging) and how the fighters of president of South Ossetia Kokoity behaved themselves (there are facts of their prevocational actions, and subsequently also facts of looting and pillaging); who had provoked Georgia to actions of force – not a word.In short: if you want to know the truth about something – make use of different sources of information. Like in their day the Soviet people – those who wanted to – used the information of Radio Liberty and the Voice of America. By the way, under threat of being arrested for this. The times, it seems, are returning…