Grigory Pasko: The Servile Kremlin Press Corps


The servile Kremlin pool

Grigory Pasko, journalist

The obsequiousness with which the journalists who are in proximity to the first persons – those who are part of the so-called Kremlin pool – write down everything the first persons say just melts my heart. Just take a look at this spectacle. Sycophantic toadies would weep with envy. Slaves would wipe away tears of joy. To write down all the drivel that these same first persons spew out more often than not with such speed and with such rapture is something only very faithful and devoted journalists could do. But then… Are they really journalists?…

Fine, that’s not the point. Let us pause instead to think about whyit is that they write, and don’t just flick on their recording devices?There’s an incredible array of sound-recording equipment out therenowadays – and of the highest quality and convenience of use, at that.(Just the other day I read about the latest miracle from Zelenograd -the smallest voice recorder in the world , smaller than an ordinarycigarette lighter). You say you’ve got no money to buy one? I don’tbelieve you for a moment. No, the matter here, in my view, is insomething else. If a journalist is holding a recording device in hishand, this then frees up his gaze, and he can then look directly intothe eyes of the first person. But the first persons don’t like directlooks. They’re afraid of them. What if a direct look is followed by adirect question? (I’m fantasizing here, of course: since when do thepool reporters know how to come up with a direct question?)

Moving on. If you’re using a recording device, you’ve got at least oneof your hands free. But the first persons are afraid of free hands.What if something other than a pen is in them?

I think that the pool journalists are even selected in such a manner sothat they themselves would want their hands to be busy, so that theywould be deprived of the opportunity to look directly in the eyes, toponder questions, to see as far as possible and to hear as much aspossible as well as possible … With notepad in hand, it is as if thoughthey are fenced off from everything external: like, here we are, thefaithful and devoted, scribbling away, just like we’re supposed to, notsticking out, not asking needless questions, only rarely catching everyword.

Photo: Not for attribution. Curiously, Kremlin pool reporters use hundred-year-old technology in their work.