Thursday, October 11, 2012

OK, fine. I'll talk about Pussy Riot

I am quite appalled, frankly, at this whole thing--more so at the reaction of the international sphere than to the act itself. When I first saw the video, I was a bit puzzled, but not offended at the fact that it was clearly a potshot at Putin. But I was disturbed that it took place in a church. I don't go to church, much less worship at an Orthodox church, but I always behave respectfully when I visit one.

I found Pussy Riot's stunt more of cheap talk, rather than free speech. It was an act of hooliganism, pure and simple. Like the "hooliganism" that skinheads are often charged with (and often it is criticised for being too lenient), it too is filled with hatred, not towards a race, but to religion.

I just fail to see how this should have anything to do with Putin. Yeah sure, they were yelling out his name in their "punk prayer", but seriously? What a cheap shot that does nothing but to discredit the opposition as hysterical, impulsive, and shallow, clowns.

Maybe being raised in Singapore, offending others' beliefs is something one must never, ever do. So I'm afraid I won't change that point of view. I believe that people should have freedom to worship whomever they want, and have people respect their religious views. Without that, there can never be free speech.

Already, in the wake of their stunt, religious hatred has reared its ugly head--even though the band members claim that their protest was political, and was not of religious hatred. Well, beyond the walls of that one church, it has developed into hatred. Pussy Riot copycats started chopping down crosses across Russia. It was at this point, I had pictured someone vandalising the church, or mosque, or temple, in my neighbourhood in the name of politics. Imagine if this were supporters of the opposition party. I wouldn't be caring about the political message. I would be staring at vandalised, desecrated, places of worship, and a lot of hurt, angry citizens.

I don't think most the Russian public has a problem with two of them facing two years in jail. Just because the most vocal ones are making the headlines, doesn't mean that they're the majority, as a recent poll showed.

So, what now? Even though I think it should have nothing to do with Putin, in reality, it now has everything to do with Putin. Really, we could all have spent that energy focusing on more serious matters related to the freedom of speech and the press in Russia. For one, journalist Paul Klebnikov's murder still hasn't been solved. Neither has Anna Politkovskaya's murderer has been brought to justice. There are scores of unsolved murders of journalists. Maybe we should be returning international focus to those issues that deserve far more attention.

Monday, October 8, 2012

JOHNSON'S RUSSIA LIST » New NTV Documentaries Likely to Cause a Stir

JOHNSON'S RUSSIA LIST » New NTV Documentaries Likely to Cause a Stir

Moscow Times – – Jonathan Earle – October 4,2012

State-controlled NTV television is scheduled to air two new politically themed documentaries this weekend ­ an opposition expose on Friday and a feature about the day-to-day life of President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, his 60th birthday.

The channel has a history of producing controversial documentaries about Kremlin foes ­ from former Mayor Yury Luzhkov to Pussy Riot ­ and Putin’s closely guarded personal life has long been a subject of intense interest and speculation.

“Anatomy of a Protest 2,” like its predecessor, will portray opposition leaders as foreign agents plotting revolution, judging by a trailer released on Tuesday on NTV’s website.

“Who’s taking the money, how much and for what?” an ominous voice says over footage of protest leaders Sergei Udaltsov and Alexei Navalny giving impassioned speeches.

Opposition activists denounced the first program in the series as a pro-Kremlin hatchet job. After it aired in March, about 100 protesters were detained outside NTV’s headquarters.

The channel is billing the new Putin documentary as a “never-before-seen” look at the president’s everyday life, featuring scenes shot over a week at an investment forum, his residence, and inside his car.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Putin 60 — RT

Well then, what do you think VVP plans to do on his birthday?

Putin 60 — RT

Back in the Kremlin, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is marking his 60th birthday on October 7, basking in publicity, nourishing his tough-guy image and showing he is in full control of the country – inherited 12 years back from his senile and deeply unpopular predecessor, the first Russian President Boris Yeltsin – to “restore law and order.”
After Putin’s comfortable win in the March presidential poll, giving him another six years in office, analysts are trying to unravel his main riddle: how long can Russia’s strongman hold on to power?

Russian students don't mind the president’s firm hand | Russia Beyond The Headlines

It's official... Generation Putin generally doesn't mind Putin.

Russian students don't mind the president’s firm hand

Researchers have created an image of the ideal president for Russia’s 20-somethings.
Russian students don
The posotive image of Vladimir Putin is upheld by young people who were born in the early 1990s, after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Source: AFP / East-News
Young people in Russia do not approve of diplomatic proclivities in a president – they would rather welcome an authoritarian with an unyielding political will. Such was the conclusion drawn by researchers in a study entitled "An Ideal President in the Eyes of Russian and French Students."