Russia descends further into the Totalitarian Mire
Late last year, when the Reporters without Borders organization released its latest index of press freedom, we learned that Russia had fallen a shocking 12 places from its ranking the prior year to #153 in the world out of 175 countries under study, for the first time dropping below the crazed dictatorship of Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus.
Last week, Freedom House released the latest results of its own ongoing study of press freedom. According to FH, Russia is doing even worse than RWB imagines. Russia is 26th out of 29 nations in Eastern Europe and a jolting, appalling #175 overall out of 196 nations under review. At rank number 175, Russia is tied with the crude African banana republic of Gambia according to FH’s seasoned analysts.
These ratings are eerily similar to other ratings held by Russia. It also doesn’t rank in the top 100 nations of the world in criteria like life expectancy or fertility. These facts are indicative of absolute, total failure on the part of the so-called “government” of Russia to build a successful, civilized state.
We cannot help but ask ourselves: Do the people of Russia have any shame at all?
Are they prepared to watch their nation sink ever deeper into the mire of barbarism, descending into the very depths of the most uncivilized and backwards states on the planet? Will Russians not be satisfied until their nations ranks at the absolute nadir of both the RWB and FH rankings?
How can it be, we ask ourselves, that Russians are not jolted with shame to realize that their nation is in violent retrograde, heading rapidly back towards its own failed past, being ruled by a man — Vladimir Putin — who personifies all drove the USSR into bankruptcy, both moral and financial, and collapse?
Russians have watched as the malignant forces of their government do not hesitate even to permit female journalists like Anna Politkovskaya and Natalia Estemirova to be shot and killed, and just as in the times of Stalin they have not lifted a finger to protect them. On a daily basis, they watch sources of information about their country and its KGB-dominated dictatorship get extinguished. They clearly see that there is no difference between the quality of reporting on Russian state-controlled broadcast TV and the quality of reporting on TV in the USSR. They have watched like sheep as newspaper after newspaper has been taken over by the Kremlin or shut down, journalists beaten and killed, and heroic figures like Sergei Magnitsky subjected to the most barbaric and brutal forms of torture.
When two such diverse organizations as FH and RWB conduct systematic surveys of a vast cross section of world nations using objective criteria and publishing their methodology, and come to virtually identical conclusions, there is only one possible reaction for any civilized people: Shame. In a civilized, intelligent country, this reaction would be swiftly followed by regime change (as the Americans booted out the Bush government in favor of a starkly opposite Obama administration) and determined reform. When you care about your children and their future, that’s what you do.
But Russians? They just don’t care. Not only do they turn a blind eye to the destruction of their institutions of journalism, they facilitate them. Like the crowd observed by Julia Ioffe on a Moscow subway platform cheering raucously as a gang of thugs called for widespread race murder and persecution, Russians support actively the efforts of the Putin regime to turn the country back towards a dark totalitarian past.
And so, when once again the bell tolls for Russians, they will have nobody to blame but themselves and will deserve no sympathy for their brutal plight. Surely, having seen all this reckless behavior, the world will give them none.