On Friday Meduza published a story about a 14-year old girl who was questioned by the FSB because she wore Ukrainian colored ribbons to a government-sponsored rally commemorating the illegal annexations of the Crimea. Here’s an excerpt that gives you the gist:
“During the interrogation, Federal Security Services wanted to know how she met the other young people who brought Ukrainian national symbols to the rally with them. The interrogators allegedly aimed to get her to confess that she was paid to wear the ribbons.”
This is one of those golden moments I cherish because it so perfectly shatters Russophilic worldviews. Here we have a 14-year-old girl, being interrogated somewhat aggressively, by a national intelligence agency, for ribbons. And do not think the fact that she was indeed wearing those ribbons to make a political statement mitigates this idiocy one bit. In other countries local police might question a person attending a public event with a provocative sign or t-shirt, but it’s unlikely that they’d be hauled in for questioning by a national intelligence or security agency, much less bullied into a confession.
So yeah, there you have it. This is the nation that is supposedly rising in power as the United States and Europe are supposedly decaying. This is the great Russian empire, that makes the world tremble! This is the bastion of moral values, true freedom!
Please, Max Kaiser, tell us how Russia is pulling ahead of the West and the US is on the point of economic collapse. Tell us, Tim Kirby, about how Russia has real freedom of speech. All you war nerds who masturbate to facts and figures about intercontinental ballistic missiles, please tell us how strong the country that fears mimes and 14-year-old girls with ribbons is. Every goddamned day, an army of bloggers and instant “political analysts” sing the same chorus, nearly verbatim, about how Russia is a rising power, the West is collapsing, and claims about Russia’s poor human rights record are just propaganda. And yet just about every week there’s another story about some Russian politician or police agency shitting a brick over the colors blue and yellow or some other idiotic, trivial example of “extremism.”
Of course when you do bring up these things, most of the “political analysts” will tell you how the dastardly, decaying West is secretly funding all this activity, and the state is right to do this because they have to protect themselves. I feel compelled to ask why such a powerful state is so worried about its citizens being paid off, to wear ribbons no less, by nations which are supposedly in such obvious decay. Are so many Russians not aware as to how great their country is, and how terrible the West is? It’s not like the media ever shuts up about it. Why can’t Russia, this great superpower, just pay people in Western countries to bring down their governments? Why couldn’t they pay for an anti-Maidan movement to stop Maidan in its tracks in Ukraine? Surely that would have been much cheaper.
What vatniks and their “political analysts” want is to have it both ways. They want to claim that Russia has risen, or that it is rising, and the West is in mortal decline. At the same time, they also will go through great mental gymnastics to justify all the state’s petty, restrictive actions as necessary. Why necessary? Well that’s because this great new empire can easily be toppled if the US and Britain somehow manage to hand out 300 rubles to a crowd of young people and tell them to go overthrow their government. I’m terribly sorry but that dog don’t hunt. Stable, successful countries aren’t afraid of 14-year-old girls and performance artists. They cannot be toppled by handfuls of people being paid a one-time equivalent of roughly six to eight US dollars.