Archive for August 2012
Now a suspect in the Kazan murder has been found. Police say he tried to mislead the investigation my simulating a ritual murder – that’s why he wrote Free Pussy Riot on the wall in victims’ blood and arranged the bodies on the floor so that they resemble the figure 69, which means something in Satanist cults.
Despite all his elaborate efforts, the arrested man failed to hide the knife he used to murder the women and the phone with a backlog of text messages he sent to the younger victim. Police found both items in his flat. He killed the women after a conflict over love and money, police spokespeople claim.
The man readily confessed to the crime. Kazan happens to be famous for unconventional methods of interrogation. Only recently, a man died at a police station after being raped with a champaign bottle. But perhaps this time the investigation was so efficient the suspect could no longer hide the truth.
But the aim of the propaganda carpet bombing that continued for the last 24 hours has been achieved. The country’s aggressively-obedient majority, which gets all it cares to know from sources affiliated with the government, has been persuaded that Pussy Riot supporters and liberals in general are capable of committing heinous crime.
Broadening the already absurd blame, the prominent pro-Kremlin political expert Sergey Markov said that participants in the Moscow anti-Putin protests should kneel in the Red Square and ask Russian people to forgive them for supporting Pussy Riot.
As this macabre farce unfolded, news came about the creation of a broad Orthodox youth movement, by the looks of it – a cross between Mao’s student brigades and the Black Hundred, the tsarist era pogrom militia.
It’s most active faction, named after St George, has been harassing journalists and activists during Pussy Riot trial. Today, its website sports a simple and unequivocal headline – “Pussy Riot supporters killed two in Kazan”.
The regime likes talking about information wars waged against it, largely to justify its own “counter-offensives”. Here is an example of what back in the KGB days they dubbed “information surge”.
This morning, news broke about two women who had been killed in Kazan. Arriving at the scene, policemen found the words “Free Pussy Riot” written on the wall with victims’ blood.
I first spotted this story on a ultra-nationalist website, linked to the Orthodox church. It was preceded by five or six stories of fallen crosses, vandalized churches and broken icons – mysterious incidents that began happening almost daily after Pussy Riot trial, according to government-linked media.
By the afternoon, the Russian Internet filled up with headlines directly or indirectly putting the blame on the imprisoned Pussy Riot girls. The liberal blogosphere was united in the opinion that the whole story smacks of provocation.
Later during the day, a senior cleric in the Orthodox Church and a senior member of the ruling United Russia party both linked the murder with Pussy Riot’s performance in the Moscow cathedral. Lyubov Yarovaya of United Russia said Pussy Riot have created a breed of “moral freaks” capable of committing such heinous crimes.
I happened to chat with a major public figure from 1990’s about it. “Does it remind you of all the explosions in the mines and plants that preceded show trials in the 1930s?”, I asked.
“It reminds me of Ryazan exercise”, he said, referring to an incident in 1999, which led to some people accusing Putin’s government of staging the apartment bloc bombings that killed hundreds in Moscow and helped Putin’s rise to power.
“Mind you, the initial agency report did not contain such a minor detail as something written in blood on the wall. It only came up later”, he added. Reports that I read later seemed to confirm it.
Putin’s former spin doctor Gleb Pavlovsky wrote this today: “There are three undeniable facts – the murder, the inscription on the wall and the full-out media offensive, which leaves no doubt that all the government-linked media are operating under the same instruction. The unsolved murder should be blamed on Pussy Riot supporters”.
Popular blogger Andrei Malgin quotes Agatha Christie: “A murder is announced”.
Today’s main story clearly falls into the “more hellishness” category. In the morning, radio stations were discussing the newly adopted law on protecting children from damaging information. Commentators argued that dozens of classical children’s cartoons, films and books could be banned under this vaguely-worded piece of legislation.
According to the law, information is considered damaging to children if it –
– may encourage them to try cigarettes, alcohol or illegal drugs
– may encourage violence or suicides
– denies family values and encourages them to disobey their parents
– justifies anti-social behaviour
– may cause fear or panic
– depicts sexual acts between men and women (curiously, other possible gender combinations get no mention, so they seem to be perfectly legal)
Perhaps to show the absurdity of the law, a representative of VGTRK, Russia’s main state-run TV holding, said that its channels will stop showing the iconic Soviet cartoon “Nu, Pogodi!” before 11pm. The reason is that one of its main characters, the Wolf, lights a cigarette in pretty much every episode.
The blogosphere has been filling up since early morning with suggestions as to which other famous films and books should be banned. The pipe-smoking captains and rum-drinking pirates clearly have no chance. Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are blatantly anti-social. Almost every Russian fairytale contains scenes of violence. And so on.
It appears that the Orthodox CheKa – a group of pious ex-KGB agents, which currently dominates the Kremlin – is suffering from a shortage of sane and professional people willing to work for them in the parliament.
Also today, an Orthodox website published an instruction for believers on behave if they detect blasphemy, such as Pussy Riot performance, in a church. The first they should, according to this document, is spit in the perpetrator’s face to distract their attention. It then points out that although spilling blood inside the church is not allowed, it is all right to “offer adequate resistance” outside the premises. The instruction was drafted by an organization calling itself Pchelki – Little Bees.
One rule every Russian knows is that it can always get worse. That’s what happened in the trial of opposition activist Taisia Osipova, charged with drug trafficking. The prosecutor demanded a modest four years in prison for her. Earlier, the key prosecution witness admitted in court that the drugs in question had been planted by police detectives. But, in an unprecedented move, the judge sentenced her to a whopping eight years. Normally judges in political trial sentence people to just under what the prosecution demand. That happened in Khodorkovsky and Pussy Riot cases.
This is the second time Osipova goes on trial, charged with the same crime. She had been already sentenced to 10 years, but the Supreme Court overturned the sentence after the then president Medvedev said that it was too harsh. Osipova has a small daughter and claims to suffer from diabetes. But of course whatever Medvedev has said matters little in this new epoch of repression.
So if there is any logic in what the authorities are doing, it is the logic of bespredel – unlimited evil. The point is proving that you can be more evil than anybody ever imagined. And that the “aggressively-obedient majority”, as Yury Afanasyev called it many years ago, will swallow this extra evil without hesitation.
All of this is only natural for people who originate from the organization which made terror a state policy and was totally open about it. Like the CheKa operatives 90 years ago, their 21st century heirs are trying to say this: “Yes, we are evil, and we are very proud of it. Don’t ever mess with us, because our evil has no limits”.