The “Truth” Today
by Dave Essel
The contents of a newspaper provide a snapshot of the world view it contains, both mirroring and creating the society in which it circulates. Here then are all the headlines from the Russian newspaper Pravda’s website on 5 May 2009 (a random choice – it’s just the day I’m looking). “Pravda” means “truth” in Russian and its rival Izvestia’s name means “Information.” Both papers date back to Soviet times and retained their Soviet names when the USSR collapsed. An old Soviet joke was: “There’s no information in Truth and no truth in Information.”
No surprise at what one finds: the mixture of nastiness, tendentiousness, stupidity and ignorance is just plain frightening!
TERNOPOL TAKES PRIDE IN ITS UKRAINIAN SS DIVISION
“Ukraine is preparing in its own special way for the anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany. A plaque in honour of the Galicia SS division is to be erected in Ternopol…
THE WINDING PATHS OF THE INTERNET LEAD TO …JAIL
About how bloggers can be jailed for their writings. Article claims to quote Committee to Protect Journalists on how bloggers can be jailed for their writings, naming a number of countries but NOT Russia.
LOVE OF ‘PIGALLE’ GIRLS LEADS TO BERLUSCONI DIVORCE
No need for comment.
“CIVILISED” SEPARATISM. WILL SCOTLAND DIVORCE FROM ENGLAND?
Story on upcoming UK local elections with incomprehensible accent on British separatist movements.
NATO IN GEORGIA: AN IMAGINARY OPERATION IN AN IMAGINARY COUNTRY?
“Large-scale war games organised by NATO will be held in Georgia at the Vaziani military base. The scenario to be played is a UN-sanctioned operation to cool a crisis in an imaginary country. Given that the supposed opponent is not named but that Russia is the neighbouring country, these war games are clearly directed against us. Furthermore, the very fact that these imaginary manoeuvres are being held could lead Georgia to entirely real actions in Abkhazia and South Ossetia….”
BRITAIN AND FRANCE DO NOT WANT TO DISARM
“While beginning talks on a new nuclear arms reduction treaty, the USA is not inviting other countries into the dialogue, even though they also have nuclear weapons. Of course, their arsenals are not as large but they have no intention of reducing them, in particular America’s NATO allies France and Great Britain, which plan to modernise their arsenals…”
EUROPEAN UNION: FATHERS AND SONS
“Five years ago, on 1 May, the EU underwent a major enlargement. Ten countries, mainly former partners of the USSR in the socialist camp, joined the Union. Another 2 countries joined a couple of years later. But time has shown that Poland, the Baltic counties, and other newcomers do not measure up to the EU parameters either economically or politically. What was seen as the unification of Europe has turned into a headache for the EU…”
IGNORING STATISTICAL ERROR
“The opposition loves to search for black cats in blacked-out rooms. Amazingly they actually manage to catch them, even when no so feline is actually in the room. The opposition enjoyed a red-letter day recently when the latest public opinion poll purportedly showed “increasing loss of confidence” in Russia’s president and prime minister. […]”
Article goes on to state that the recorded drops of 3 and 2 percent are within statistical error range and therefore meaningless.
FIRST OF MAY CELEBRATED CALMLY
“Festive marches were held all over Russia. […]
With particular mention of happy marches in the Far Eastern regions.
1 MAY A RED-LETTER DAY FOR LIBERALS?
“The Communist Party of Russia plans to celebrate Mayday with marches and meetings. However, this time the main holiday of the working people will be held not under the red flags of the CPRF but under the banners of the liberals and other quasi-political clowns….”
POLLSTERS CORRECTLY PREDICTED SOCHI ELECTION RESULTS
“Final results of the Sochi mayoral election were released today by the Olympic capital’s electoral commission. United Russia candidate won convincingly with 76.86% of votes….”
SOCHI ELECTIONS”: MUCH CALMER THAN EXPECTED
No need for comment.
PRE-OLYMPIC BATTLE: BIG POLITICS IN A SMALL TOWN
[dated 23 April but still in today’s headlines!]
What do the Olympic Games mean today? A sporting event with an element of international politics. What kind of opposition mayoral candidate is it that can enter the race under the slogan of moving the Olympic venue? Sounds too conspiratorial to be true? But in August 2008, it sounded strange that Georgian forces deliberately began shooting up Tskhinvali on the opening day of the Peking Olympics – in order to divert attention away from the sporting events?
Article goes on to mention Tibet, some countries wanting to boycott the opening ceremony in Peking, the “free encyclopaedia Wikipedia, so beloved of of Russian opposition”, in a manic and completely incomprehensible rant.
FROM “APELSINOV” THE AUTHOR TO “PALM REVOLUTIONS”
[dated 15 April but still in today’s headlines!]
“Well-known author Eduard Limonov is pretending to the post of President of Russia – and has been for 2 months now, no matter that the Central Electoral Commission says that the race has not started. Meanwhile, the no less well-known former vice premier Boris Nemtsov is hopping to win the mayor’s seat in Sochi. These celebrities, besides their ineffable ambitions. are united by a touching love for the Internet…”
Another weird rant about who is most viewed on the Yandex Russian search engine. Apparently you can get a lot of hits for Apelsinov (“Mr. Orange”) as well as for Limonov (Mr. Lemon”). I have verified this patent lie: search for Лимонов on Yandex at the first page is all hits for Eduard; search for Апельсинов and you get no hits for that name but plenty about growing oranges.
SUSPENDED SENTENCE FOR SWEET ROBBERY
“It’s well known that thieves will take anything that’s not nailed down. But some thefts can surprise somewhat. For example, people actually steal beehives. Of course, a populated hive is worth about 5 thousand roubles. But one needs to find a buyer for the goods and furthermore know what one is about when carrying out the theft. What about getting stung? In fact, beehive theft is quite common in many countries, including Russia…”
SPECIALITY: CHURCH ROBBER
“Robbery is flourishing these days. People will steal anything, anywhere. Food and alcohol from shops. Equipment, money and jewellery from flats. Some even manage to steal from their place of work. Thieves will take anything, even cheap junk. Churches aren’t an exception, either. They get robbed not just of icons and books, but even of priests’ vestments. Church thieves are called “klyukvenniki””…”
FATEFUL ECONOMY: AN EXPLOSION TAKES 8 LIVES
“On Sunday 3 May an explosion in an Irkutsk apartment block lead to the death of eight people, including three children. Another seven residents were hospitalised with burns and other injuries. It is thought a gas canister exploded…”
CRIMINAL ADVENTURES OF FOREIGNERS IN RUSSIA
Moscow has seen a sharp rise in crimes committed by CIS citizens, so-called gastarbeiters. Even the city police has admitted to this. But such people can only be considered semi-foreigners since we once were all proud citizens of the USSR. But for criminals from other European countries to be operating here is something else again…”
Story about roadside robberies by Romanians.
CONFIDENCE TRICKSTERS: SELLING JOBS
This kind of confidence trick has been around for a long time. We all hope for the best, as the saying goes. Citizens brought up under socialism will still remember how back then one could only get a rewarding job through connections or sometimes for money. The situation is now aggravated by the financial crisis. People left jobless are ready to grab at any offer and will even pay to be found a job. Confidence tricksters are taking advantage of this…”
Story of Ukrainian (of course!) confidence trickster.
“HIGH” LIFE LASTS TWO YEARS
According to independent experts, there are over five million addicted persons in Russia. Up to 70 thousand die of overdoses each year. Such people frequently destroy not only themselves but set others on the same track. Last weeks, federal agents in Tyumen arrested a local man who had organised a drug-taking café in his own flat. According to him, he made and himself used ‘dezomorphine’ out of pure curiosity…”
CONFIDENCE TRICKSTERS: MAGICIANS
According to German folklore, witches and magicians gather on the Blocksberg on the night of 30 April – 1 May. In previous times, witches and other nasties were easily dealt with: if they had brought a curse down, they got a death sentence. Nowadays, one can seek redress for material and moral damages through the courts…”
The article is perfectly serious. Good grief!!!
I’ll spare LR readers the remaining sections: Life – “Pregnant Women’s Weird Feelings and Wishes are not Harmless” and more such rubbish; Science and Technology – “Birds Inherit their Singing Ability” and more such rubbish; Economy – “Russia is Worst of the Best” [?!?!], “Currency Prediction for the Week: Good News Weakens the Dollar” and so on; Health – “Nerves Cause Migraine or Vice-Versa?”; Fashion – “Choose the Best Sandals” (perhaps the only useful article in the issue?); Show Business – “Oksana Pochepa Regrets Shooting Her Mouth Off”.