Grigory Pasko: Saint Putin

put-3012009.jpg«Saint» Putin, with order, mounted

Grigory Pasko, journalist

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I like Germany and the Germans. True, not all Germans. Those who at times forget about the rules of decency in their headlong efforts to do what would please Putin and his regime – these don’t impress me.

On 16 January, prime-minister of the RF Vladimir Putin in Dresden in a solemn atmosphere received the “Saxon order of gratitude” of the Dresden Semperoper in the nomination of a “Politician”. The order represents a figure of Saint George mounted on a horse, striking with a lance a dragon personifying evil. It is fabricated in the Dresden jewellers’ workshop as a precise copy of one of the most precious masterpieces of the “Grüne Gewölbe” museum – a statuette of Saint George – against the background of a panel with the motto “Adverso Flumine” (“Against the flow”). In the number of former laureates of this order – actor Maximilian Schell, footballer Franz Beckenbauer and ex-minister of foreign affairs of Germany Hans-Dietrich Genscher.


Probably, these are good people – the actor, the footballer, theex-minister… And the order, probably, was respected. After they handedit to Putin, I am confident, the attitude of many people in the worldand in Germany itself to this order changed a great deal: the attitudebecame worse. The same way as this attitude changed in the whole worldafter the French started handing their famous order of the Légiond’Honneur to any and all comers.

Officially it was announced that they had conferred the cute littleorder on Putin for his supposedly existing merits with respect to thereturn of the so-called “trophy art” to Dresden. I am confident thatfew among the Dresdenites will be able to recall what specifically thisPutin did in relation to this. The question begs itself: could it bethat Vladimir Vladimirovich himself through his German friends hadorganized yet more PR for himself? After all, everybody knows thattelevision is what made Putin, and now he, like some hard-core drugaddict, can’t go anywhere without it.

I am astonished as to why Putin is still not a Hero of Russia andthe Whole of the CIS, not a Cavalier of the Russian Order of the Legionof Honor of Efesbeshniks [FSB-niks–Trans.] (isn’t it high time to come up with such an order?); of the Order of the Golden Oil-and-Gas Pipeline?

Mister Putin has more than enough merits for this.

I will enumerate but some of them (more details – from Dmitry Shusharin at

• destruction of the political system: adoption of newdraconian laws on the referendum, on political parties, on theappointment of governors, on the abolition of elections by votingdistricts;• innovations in criminal legislation in what concerns the jury courtand the possibilities of political persecution;• creation of conditions for state raidership and politicalprosecutions of businessmen, civic figures, scholars, creation ofconditions for the appearance of political prisoners in Russia;• rolling up of independent investigations of terrorists acts, startingwith the house bombings in the year 1999 in Moscow, political murdersand mysterious deaths;• statification of the economy; clanification of personnel policy;• grafting together of the state and the party of power• creation of youth organizations, found under the wardship of thestate apparat;• the artless and aggressive foreign policy of Russia;• artless administrative, military and judicial reforms…

…And so on, and so forth.

One could, of course, give a cute little order to the younggeneration of the Putinite guard as well – for example, to DmitryMedvedev, a person who has watered down the very concept of the term«president», having given it the meaning of a typical Soviet-clan one.Under him, as the human rights organization Human Rights Watch noted,the suppression by the powers of independent groups and activists hascontinued.

It is noteworthy that on the eve of the handing to Putin the orderof «gratitude” of the Dresden Opera another human rights organization -Freedom House – published an annual report “On the state of freedom inthe world”. The authors of the research, as in previous years, putRussia in the category of “not free countries”, noting that thesituation has a tendency towards deterioration.

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