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Grigory Pasko: The Economic Extremists

I recently wrote an article in which I attempted to systematize all the different kinds of «enemies of the people» that exist in modern-day Russia. Just two weeks later, it turned out that the list is outdated – yet another category of people needs to be added to it: journalists who in their articles write about the economic crisis in Russia and the causes that have produced it.

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Poster from the times of the USSR. The text (in fine print) on the poster: «American number – minus 22 percent bears witness to the economic crisis that has already begun in the United States and together with this to the crisis that is growing in all capitalist countries. The Soviet number – plus 20 percent speaks of the further mighty rise of Soviet industry». The evil capitalist is holding a paper entitled “war plans” and has a lightning bold forming the word “Crisis” over his head. The main slogan (in large print) says “Same years, different «weather»”.

The Procuracy-General of the RF has already issued an instruction toregional procurators “to counteract the inflaming of financial crisis»and «facts of informational attacks on banks”. After this began massprocuratorial checks of the mass information media. That is, theprocuracy, as has already happened not once in the history of Russia,literally interpreted the words of the chief executive of the country(in the given situation president D. Medvedev), who had expressedconcern over a possible “destabilization of the social situation” inconnection with “financial difficulties”.

In Sverdlovsk Oblast, the first to find itself within theprocuracy’s crosshairs was the information agency URA.ru, covering theproblems of the banking sector in the region brought about by thefinancial crisis. They called editor-in-chief of the publication A.Panova down to the procuracy “for a chat” to an investigator. “Theyasked me questions about how the editorial staff obtains informationabout the situation in the banks. As a result, I told the procuratorfor around an hour about the financial state of enterprises in theoblast”,– declared Ms. Panova after this pleasant chat.

“We are not implementing censorship,– they clarified in the pressservice of the Procuracy-General.– We are checking the accuracy ofinformation». We will note that the Procuracy-General did not have sucha duty before.

State Duma deputy and initiator of aborted amendments toughening thelaw “On the Mass Information Media” Robert Schlegel considers thatheadlines such as “Russia is losing value” or rumors about thedevaluation of the ruble could provoke serious consequences.”Therefore, if the procuracy will have suspicions and evidence that themass information media is publishing for-hire material, criminal casesneed to be initiated”,– declared he.

“The siloviki structures, as usual, literally interpret what is saidto them from above,– considers head of the Glasnost Defense FoundationAlexei Simonov.– This is like in the case with extremism, by which isnow understood any sharp disagreement with the leadership. And now theleadership is saying that we don’t have a financial crisis, there areonly crisis phenomena. And in this lies great danger for the massinformation media, especially business publications”.

Witch hunts, as is known, don’t have any boundaries. Under theslogan of struggle with economic extremists it is perfectly possiblethat they could also shut down those publications which, analyzing thecrisis phenomena, wittingly or unwittingly criticize the current power.But this power very much dislikes – and/or fears criticism to itsaddress.
It is noteworthy that into the crosshairs of the procuracies and theFSB have fallen not only mass information media, but even ordinaryadvertising flyers. The Soviet District Court of Vladivostok recentlyruled flyers discovered in the entranceways to residential buildings tobe extremist material. The flyers had the headline «Appeal call». Thecontent of the flyers is being concealed, but one can suppose that theunaware Far-Easterners had written come kind of call to residents,expressing dissatisfaction with the powers. The headline, to my view,is stupid. But for the local chekists, obviously, a conspiracy andattempts by the population to overthrow the power looms everywhere. Bethat as it may, but the investigative division of the UFSB forPrimorsky Kray at first initiated a criminal case (public calls for theimplementation of extremist activity), while the court issued adecision under which these flyers were found to be extremist material.Now they’re looking for the authors of the flyers. When the find them -they’ll lock the people up in jail.

If things keep on going this way, then soon in Russia will begin tobe distributed circulars of the procuracy and the FSB about «blacklistsof enemies of the people», who are impeding the competent andelected-by-all-the-people power in courageously and wisely overcomingthe consequences of the financial and economic crisis, which wasfoisted on us by the abominable capitalists from the USA.