EDITORIAL: Mr. Medvedev and his Shoe

EDITORIAL

Mr. Medvedev and his Shoe

Soviet premier Nikita Khruschev found one uniquely Russian use for a shoe, and now it seems Russian “president” Dima Medvedev has found another.

To commemorate Russia’s national holiday to remember victims of Soviet repression, Medvedev wrote on his blog:

Even now we can hear voices saying that these numerous deaths were justified by some supreme goals of the state. Nothing can be valued above human life, and there is no excuse for repressions.  It is important to prevent the justification, under the pretext of putting historical records straight, of those who killed their own people.

In other words, he planted his shoe firmly in his own mouth. 

Who, we can only wonder, does this man think he is fooling?  Just two days before, Medvedev’s representative in Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov announced he was opening a criminal case against the leader of the only important organization in Russia which is devoted to remembering Stalin’s victims, the appropriate named Memorial’s Oleg Orlov.  In other words, Medvedev’s own government is prosecuting those who would “prevent the justification of those who killed their own people” as criminals, just as Stalin himself would have done. 

Medvedev, of course, did not say a single word about the criminal case against Orlov. He did not mention his own governments relentless pattern of authorizing political murder, everyone from Galina Starovoitova to Natalia Estemirova and beyond.  He said nothing about his own government’s repeated convictions in the European Court for Human Rights on charges of state-sponsored murder and torture in Chechnya.  He ignored the endless documented allegations of vote fraud, fraud from which he himself has been the beneficiary.

This is through-the-looking-glass stuff.  Medvedev is just like the infamous Emperor with his “new clothes,” totally detached from reality and utterly unable to realize how foolish he looks before the eyes of a better-informed world.  We cannot forget that there was a time when Nikita Khrushchev criticized Stalin, purporting to want to relax his country’s crazed totalitarian structures in the national interest. But it was not long before Khrushchev was at the UN taking off his shoe, pounding it on a table an screeching:  “We will bury you!”

Let’s not be fooled again.

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