History online. 16-22 November, 2007
Although all political forces seem to advert to the amalgamation of the movement ‘For Putin’ and the ‘United Russia’, which, by all accounts, had happened on Wednesday, there were still quite calm and sensible arguments. One cannot still say, that these arguments were produced notwithstanding; the situation probably matures in several aspects at once. Thus a calm reasonable policy appeared. The editorial of the ‘Novaya Gazeta’ daily (‘The external menace’, ‘At last the main topic of the election campaign is defined’) is an example of it.
“The leader of the united Russia Boris Gryzlov addressed to the foreign society in Berlin. He said: ‘We are in earnest about the menace of destabilization of our country from without.’ ‘We understand’, he added, ‘that those, who cannot be named ‘friends of Russia’ also prepare for the elections. But they have not a ghost of a chance. Russia is able to assert its interests’. Thus, two weeks before the elections the main topic of the current election campaign became clear. It is the confrontation to the menace of destabilization in the country from the direction of external forces. Other variants having been regarded by the Kremlin are now removed from the agenda.”
The moral: lack of internal opponents can be compensated for by an intensive search of them in the westward. The motivation is obvious. Novaya Gazeta notes that the cleanup of corruption is now of little importance. And this is really so. Where is the anti-corruption agency, which has been so much told about? Well, from the very beginning of the campaign all went wrong. It came to the open letter written by Cherkesov in which he appealed to the unity of special services and demanded for defense of Lieutenant-General Alexander Bulbov. It became clear that it would be better to finish the anti-corruption campaign.
There was also a positive variant, the Putin’s plan. But here also not everything went well. On the one hand, the country prospers, there is stability, and nothing threatens. On the other hand, a lawyer heads the movement ‘For Putin’, and the very movement is named ‘a movement in defense of Putin’. That is logically. But to defend against whom? Well, against ‘external menace’. However, it should be performed, and that is not so easy. There is little time, and one should invent some main destabilizing factor. By the way, it is not quite clear, how to write ‘For Putin’, whether one should put in an exclamation mark or not.
One should also pay attention to Gryzlov. An inspiration obviously came to him. ‘Those who cannot be named ‘Russia’s friends’ certainly prepare for the elections. And, certainly, they have not even a ghost of a chance. Sure, Mr. Churov has already claimed that, maybe, Russia would not invite observers from the OSCE in March 2008; but the OSCE can be hardly represented as the main enemy. But nothing is impossible. The more so as the meeting of Putin with the leadership of the Ministry of Defense and his words about the ‘military muscle-flexing next to our borders’ open up new possibilities.
Besides that Gryzlov argued in Berlin that Russians who lived outside Russia should be deprived of the provision of pensions. ‘However, taking into account that pensionary money is not luxury for us, officials from the pension fund will be ordered to manage this process more thoroughly. And those pensioners who live outside Russia will be excluded from the system of pensions providing. This is a sinecure’. Gruzlov said that the situation concerns first of all countries of the CIS. ‘Some Russian national can receive a pension and lead a happy life somewhere in Georgia’, he added.
Thus, Gryzlov argued, that only a person who lived in Russia could get a Russian pension. Neither Russian citizenship, nor legality of a pension accounting can be a cause of a pension payment. Since this is a sinecure.
Gryzlov managed to unite two things: first he expelled all nationals who lived outside Russia. Second, this statement could not also gladden pensioners within the country, since it means only that the law on pensions can be interpreted any way one likes. It turns out, that a pension is a sinecure, in other words, a kind of charity, which the state can give or not. Quite an interesting pre-election argument.
But somebody explained Gryzlov what namely he had said, and he hastened to correct his words. He wanted to say the following: “There are people who haven’t worked in Russia and haven’t earned Russian pensions, but now they want to get them being admitted to Russian citizenship, although they live in other countries. There are such attempts, so the officials must establish order on this problem”. It would better for not to correct anything at all. It turned out to be even more interesting. A citizenship is just a citizenship, since it is inseparably linked with certain rights and duties. Including the pension. In fact a new kind of citizenship appears, a citizenship without rights. Well, there is already such a caste of semi-nationals; these are citizens (usually people from former USSR republics) without residence permit. They can’t get fixed up in any job. Now a new class will appear: citizens without social guarantees and support.
Another incident which is worth being mentioned concerns the Right Forces Union. It is quite unclear whether Chubais has left the party or not. The history was discussed for two days; nobody named a definite source, but many refuted. It is difficult to say, whether this history will give some percentage to the RFU, but Putin immediately began promoting the party. During the meeting with his supporters he reported, that enemy forces “want to come back, to return to power, to spheres of influence. And gradually restore the oligarchic rule based on corruption and lies."
"There should be no illusions”, he added. “All of these people have not left the political arena. You will find their names among candidates and sponsors of several parties. They want to come back, to return to power, to spheres of influence. And gradually restore the oligarchic rule based on corruption and lies," he said at a forum of his supporters in Moscow on Wednesday.
"They will now come out into the streets - got a crash course from foreign experts, got trained in neighboring republics and will try here now". Etc. Thus, the topic of the external and internal menace was quite represented. The source of it was defined; so from the election point of view all has been made correctly. However, after this statement many Muscovites were awaken in the middle of the night be calls. They were appealed to vote for the Right Forces Union.
In general the meeting in Luzhniki was remarkable for absence of any catharsis. Putin made no earthshattering statements. In the result people even could hardly say something definite about it. Instead of it the blogosphere remembered about the presidential website and found there an old subsection “The Russian president to citizens of school age” http://www.uznai-prezidenta.ru/
“How can one know, whether the president manage his work?”
“If once you hear, read or see that from morning to night everybody say one and the same about the president, pray him, admire him, argue that he is great and impeccable - then it means, that the president doesn’t manage his work. Then you should know that a trouble has happened; and in your country there is no freedom of speech anymore. And that means, that there is also no democracy”.
Well, one can either remember Loa Zi. That the better regent is that, about whom the people know only that he exists.
However there were attempts of philosophical comprehension of the situation. Nikolai Svanidze on the Ekho Moskvy radio station made such a conclusion: “If to speak about an inborn servility, yes, to my regret I should admit that we all have it from the recent times”. To our regret we should note that some TV journalists are still accustomed to speak not for themselves, but on behalf of some ‘we’. Who are these ‘we’ is still unclear?