Kommersant Interview a Game for Putin

A Good Treaty has summarized an interesting exchange on Echo Moskvy featuring the polittechnologists Gleb Pavlovsky and Marat Gelman, discussing Vladimir Putin’s most recent macho, potty-talk interview with Andrey Kolesnikov of Kommersant (in English here).

Political analysts Gleb Pavlovsky and Marat Gel’man were on Ekho Mosvky earlier today to share their observations about Putin’s speech. Gel’man, assumedly responding to the statement quoted above, said that the most interesting idea to come out of the exchange was the notion that Strategy 31, the liberal protest movement obsessed over by journalists and bloggers alike (guilty as charged), has moved outside the bounds of legal behavior. “The philosophy of [Strategy] 31 was originally for legality. And today they declare that they’re breaking the law for the law,” Gel’man mused, adding, “I’d already forgotten that [Strategy] 31 was for the law.”

Pavlovsky complained that the interview was a failure, but for thishe blamed Kolesnikov, not Putin, saying that the reporter allowed theprime minister to partake in exactly the sort of exchange in which Putinis most comfortable. (This is ironic, given that Kolesnikov’s authorpage at Snob.ru states outright that his aim as an interviewer is to gethis subjects outside their comfort zones.) Pavlovsky also criticizesKolesnikov for failing to ask serious questions. He missed a chance tobring up the MVD draft legislation when Putin mentioned beating people’sheads (something the zakonoproekt explicitly bans in Section 6, Clause22, Paragraph 1, Subsection 1). Pavlovsky also emphasizes Putin’slighthearted tone, calling the conversation a “game” of sorts, whichKolesnikov unfortunately did not resist. “Putin could have made thisinterview a strong portrait, or a political [statement],” the analystsaid, “but what we got was neither political nor a portrait. SoKolesnikov just didn’t ask him a single important political question.”