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Grigory Pasko: Russian Prophetism

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If you know you can’t do it – promise you will anyway…

Grigory Pasko, journalist

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The January Russian newspapers and websites are full of headlines: «Published are the most complete predictions of Vanga…» (the key word here is “most”, because last year there already was such a headline, only without this word).

The next headline – «Who killed Vlad Listev…» (I will remind readers of the blog that the producer of the first telechannel of Russia, the journalist Listev, was shot to death in the entryway to his own building in the year 1995).

The next headline – «Who killed Anna Politkovskaya» (The journalist Anna Politkovskaya, as you will recall, they shot in the entryway to her own building in the year 2006).

The next headline – «Who poisoned Viktor Yushchenko …» Well, here everybody knows who Yushchenko is and why they wanted to poison him. This was several years ago.

In a word, there’s nothing new in the mass information media ofRussia. Even the gas war with Ukraine – is also two-year-old news. The”new” – is just the well-forgotten or nearly-forgotten “old”, which theRussian mass information media periodically pull out of dusty filecabinets and wave in front of the noses of readers, hoping to attracttheir attention. More precisely – distract their attention. Distract itfrom the necessity of pondering the causes of the decline in theeconomy, the degradation of political life, the wildly increasingprices for everything that in the West that Putin and Co. find sodisgusting is falling in price…

Also being put into play are those reports that once every two-threeyears are repeated without any hope that they will actually beimplemented Thus, the Russian GULAG, that is, now FSIN (the FederalService for the Execution of Punishments), has once again predicted areduction in the number of prisoners in the year 2009 on account ofmeasures undertaken “within the framework of the humanization of thecriminal-law system”, as well as the efforts of the Supreme Court.

According to data as of the end of the year 2008, in Russiancolonies and isolators are held 893 thousand persons. In the opinion ofthe leadership of FSIN, this is a bit much. (I should say so! If youconsider that until the coming to power of Putin, there were nearly 300thousand fewer people locked up!)

Now FSIN is planning a “softening of the liability for a series ofinsignificant crimes, as well as the transfer of some crimes fromcriminal ones into the category of administrative offenses”.

Earlier it had been reported that the committee of the State Dumafor security had prepared a draft of amendments to the Code of CriminalProcedure. The Deputies are proposing to expand the possibility of theapplication of alternative kinds of punishment. Thanks to theseamendments, approximately a third of the inmates may be able to get outof places of deprivation of liberty – 280 thousand persons.

That is, exactly the same number that ended up in the jails and thecamps under comrade Putin. I would rejoice at this «news», if I did notknow for sure that such «news» sounded from the lips of the leadershipof FSIN last year as well, and the year before that too… And five yearsago. And all this time, the quantity of inmates has only beenincreasing. With good intentions, as is known, only the road to hell ispaved. And for FSIN, as my experience suggests to me, the concept ofhell is closer than the concept of humanization.

It can be seen that they have assimilated the concept of PR overthere as well: they understand that at the beginning of a new year itis best to promise something good, if you’re not capable of actuallydoing this good thing. And in the capacity of «news», it is better topublish not the truth, but old and dusty texts about Vanga: shecouldn’t care less any more, but for the reader – it’s the journalisticequivalent of easy-listening music…