“Living” in Russia
The image above, courtesy of the Moscow Times, is a photograph taken from the Moscow subway. It shows two advertisements plastered on the wall next to each other. The one on the left is an ad for “Domestos” cleaner, and boasts that it wipes out germs of every kind, including those that cause the dreaded Swine Flu. It warns gravely: “Don’t economize on the health of your child!” The one on the right comes from the Moscow City Council, and urges voters to turn out on election day, October 11th. It advises voters that “City Council will decide how to guaranty health and safety” and that “Moscovites will decide who sits on the City Council.”
The juxtaposition is profound.
One would be hard-pressed to explain what powers have been vested by the national government in the Moscow City Council to “guaranty health and safety.” Russia is ever more a totalitarian state where local government is enslaved by the Kremlin. One would be even harder pressed to explain how either government, plagued as they are by pandemic corruption and incompetence, to say nothing of a wanton disregard for the value of individual human lives or the welfare of the nation (leading to Russia not ranking in the top 130 nations of the world for adult lifespan) could possibly hope to make any significant progress in protecting the citizens of Moscow from disease.
Indeed, as we reported in an editorial just days ago, there is a breaking scandal in Moscow as it is revealed that the Putin regime is lying brazenly about the level of infection Russia faces from Swine Flu, making neo-Soviet denials that would make even Leonid Brezhnev blush crimson with shame. And that’s just one specific disease of the many Russia faces, from AIDS to tuberculosis. The Kremlin has adopted the same attitude towards all of them: Ignore the problem, and lie about it.
And that of course is where the heroic “Domestos” comes in. It will do, or so it claims, for the residents of Moscow the job that their City Council should be doing, but isn’t. What the national parliament should be doing, but isn’t. What the national dictator should be doing, but isn’t.
It’s difficult to believe, of course, that a little bottle of soap could carry all that weight.
Then again, it’s also difficult to believe that a nation’s government could adopt such a rabidly hostile attitude towards its own people, liquidating them in their tens of thousands as if they were the enemy. Indeed, a convincing case can easily be made that the Russian government is the Russian people’s worst enemy, far more lethal to them than any foreign government ever dreamed of being.