Archive for October 2015
In terms of its dramatic effect, how does the Syrian season of the Russian TV news soap opera compare to the Ukrainian season?
The Middle East setting is way more spectacular. Just think of it – desert sun, ancient ruins, people in exotic outfits. Also, planes are infinitely cooler than tanks or artillery. Besides, judging by Russian news reports, they always hit some mysterious facilities, which seem uninhabited, because no one is talking about casualties.
There is less confusion with Syria. While in the case of Ukraine one could recall a colleague from Cherkassy or distant relatives in Odessa, who suddenly stopped sending birthday cards, Syrians come across as strange (and dangerous) aliens who populate TV screens, but not the real world as it is observed from Tambov or Ulyanovsk.
The new goods guys, pilots, are a totally different league in terms of manners and intelligence than the gangster-ish field commanders in Donbass. Terrorists work better than Ukrainian “fascists” as the bad guys – the whole world hates them, so there is no question of Russia being isolated on the issue. The fact that Russia is bombing non-ISIS groups is not something that will worry Russian viewers. Really, who cares about different shades of Jihadism?
Finally, Syria is the place where the evil force behind all of the world’s misfortunes – one might call it West or simply America – has once again bred a Frankenstein which is now threatening its own creator. Same way as it did with Afghan mujaheddins, who transformed into Taliban and caused 9/11. Now the Russian Jedis can sort the whole thing out and shame the reckless American devils.
Or not. But who in Russia cares what happens to Syria at the end of the day? Besides, if the Russian intervention leads to a greater trouble, it’s always possible to withdraw and blame everything on America.
Russian planes are bombing moderate pro-American Syrians, but Russia claims that it’s targeting Islamic State militants. If you are seeing a contradiction here, it means you are not watching Russian TV on daily basis. For it has been hammering into viewer’s heads for weeks and months that Islamic State has been created by the West. Indeed Putin reiterated the same idea while addressing the UN General Assembly.
So see – it’s logical. First Islamic State militants get bombed and then they start shouting that they’ve been trained by the CIA. Bingo! We always knew it.
The only logic that matters for Putin is the one that sells to Russian TV audiences. The only reason to start the war in Syria was that the Ukrainian episode of the ongoing soap opera was getting duller and murkier. The new one has been great so far – just look at those MoD videos of explosions on the ground neatly going off all at the same time. They will keep millions of people mesmerized for some months, while script writers will be scratching their heads about new scenes and new backdrops.