Neo-Soviet Russia, once again Gagged
Russia ranked #141 on the Reporters without Borders international press freedom survey in 2008, out of 173 nations surveyed — the bottom fifth of all countries in the world. But if you thought Russia had noplace to go but up from there, you were very much mistaken.
Shockingly, in the 2009 survey whose results were just released last week, Russia plunged 12 places to #153. For the first time, it was surpassed in allowing press freedom by the crazed dicatorship of Belarus, and now occupies the same company as African banana republics like Tunesia and Sudan. Only 22 nations on the planet, out of 175 surveyed, have less press freedom than Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Russia was the only G-8 member to see its score for press freedom decline from last year.
RWB calls Russia a “deepening tragedy” and states:
Russia (153rd) tumbled 12 places, below Belarus for the first time. The reasons for this fall, three years after Anna Politkovskaya’s murder, include continuing murders of journalists and human rights activists who help to inform the population, and physical attacks on local media representatives. They also include the return with increasing force of censorship and reporting taboos and the complete failure to punish those responsible for the murders.
Georgia, often castigated by Russian nationalists as a dicatorship, ranked much higher than Russia at #81, showing a marked improvement from last year.
Writing in the Moscow Times, former Duma deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov reveals that the Kremlin is aggressively wiping out the very last traces of journalistic freedom in Russia, gagging the tiny and largely insignificant REN-TV, the last vestigial shadow of true reporting on Russian television. We have reported a litany of examples of the Kremlin’s brutal crackdown on the Internet, attacking both bloggers and service providers, and this action too is largely superfluous asince the vast majority of Russians have no Internet access.
The people of Russia should be ashamed, of course. But it’s hard for them to be ashamed when, by the very nature of the problem, they don’t know it exists because Russian journalists won’t or can’t tell them. Yet, of course, Russians know full well that they are being lied to, even if they don’t know how ignorant they are, and like a nation of barbaric cave men they simply allow themselves to be crudely manipulated by their neo-Soviet masters. They saw how this behavior wrecked and ruined the USSR, driving it, humliated, to its knees before a slackjawed world, and yet they are prepared to repeat the whole fiasco all over again.
Richly, then, they deserve the brutal suffering that fate holds in store for them.