Grigory Pasko: Little Strokes Fell Great Oaks

menty1130.jpgLittle strokes fell great oaks – a case study By Grigory Pasko, journalist For several years now, I’ve had occasion to interact on a regular basis with one mid-level manager at a large Moscow company. Well, actually, I don’t really know what level it is – technical director of a branch of the company. He’s a specialist in automobiles. A real professional at what he does, and a person who knows how to manage people. A former military man. Apparently, it was just this circumstance that enabled him to have a non-critical attitude towards today’s Russian power. He considered that our power is normal; that Putin is doing everything right; that the opposition is not worthy of taking power into its hands… True, he would turn silent during the time of our discussions when I would ask him to give me examples of the efficiency of the power of the chekists in the development of the economy of the country, the solution of social problems, questions of planning and other things. And so we would meet an continue our never-ending discussions…

And then there came the «United Russia» party congress, at which a garment worker appealed to the president not to leave the office of president and to head the party.And after this was the congress of the movement «For Putin», where a flashy lawyer from the KGB appealed to all Russians to love Putin and to call him the “national leader” from now on.And after that there was a rally of Putin supporters at the Moscow stadium in Luzhniki, where the president of Russia, shouting into the microphone, pointed to enemies and appealed for struggle against them. (By the way, a specialist would without any difficulty call this “inflaming social discord within the populace”).And finally, very recently, I had occasion to meet once again with my acquaintance the manager. And he told me that he had not expected such idiocy as he had seen at the «United Russia» congress. That he had not expected such rage and aggression from Putin towards former comrades-in-arms, whom he pointed to as being responsible for all of Russia’s misfortunes in the troubled 1990s. That he had not expected such a circus as the pre-election speeches of the president (the talk took place on the eve of the elections). And overall, he said, when a person who is not a member of any party heads a party’s list all by himself, and at the same time asserts that there are plenty of con-man hangers-on in this party – this just doesn’t squeeze into any rational framework whatsoever.I’ll admit I was a little taken aback. I hadn’t expected to hear these words from this person – words of completely sober-minded and just criticism.And then I thought: this is probably natural, that a person has woken up and seen the light. He could not have done otherwise, if he is homo sapiens. You can fool some of the people some of the time – and it can be for quite a long time – but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. And if, even just every once in a while, you offer people an alternative view of what’s going on around them, then sooner or later they will learn how to separate the wheat from the chaff. I would modestly like to hope that my view served as such an alternative to some extent in this case. But my counter-arguments would hardly have been sufficient to enable the enlightenment of my acquaintance were it not for the support I got from Putin himself and his army of grovelling toadies.So now I think that the Putinite power is capable of digging its own grave. For now, for starters, let it be just in the eyes of one or a few people.Little strokes fell great oaks…[Photo taken by Grigory Pasko, Sochi, Nov. 2007]