In Russia, a Childish government for a Childish People

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

Any government that is accountable to the people dedicates a substantial amount of time analyzing and reporting on its actions and mistakes. Visitors to the U.S. government and Senate web sites will find hundreds, even thousands, of such reports. An unaccountable government behaves exactly the opposite. Rather than analyzing its mistakes, it makes empty promises, and instead of holding past actions up to scrutiny, it draws attention with predictions about the future.

Nowhere is this unaccountability of the Russian authorities more evident than in this past summer’s wildfires. Three months after much of European Russia was engulfed in toxic smoke, villages burned and people lost their lives, we have no more information about what happened than what was offered at the very outset.

The State Duma, the Federation Council and the government have not made even the slightest attempt to analyze what happened. They have forgotten the fires as if they never occurred, which raises a number of critical questions.

We still don’t know how many people burned to death. The official number cited Aug. 2 was 34 victims. On Aug. 4 the figure rose to 48 and on Aug. 6 to 52. After that, the authorities apparently stopped counting the bodies. Thus, 52 is not the final or even an approximate count. It’s just the total number of bodies that had been found as of Aug. 6.

The number of people who died as an indirect result of the fires is also unclear. According to Andrei Illarionov, a former economic adviser to then-President Vladimir Putin, anywhere from 56,000 to 64,000 more people than usual died this July and August. That’s only slightly fewer than all Soviet casualties from the war in Afghanistan. On Monday, the Economic Development Ministry reported — in passing, in an otherwise unrelated report — that 14,500 and 41,300 more people than average died in July and August, respectively.

The authorities have yet to report on the long-term effects of toxic smoke exposure, particularly on infants and pregnant women.

The authorities have never given a figure for total losses from the fires.
Neither the government nor parliament has made any attempt to analyze the causes of this catastrophe. The only reason offered was the unusual heat. But nobody has explained why the Bryansk region went up in flames while the immediately adjacent areas of Belarus and Ukraine did not. If the heat was the only cause, why was it confined to Russia’s borders? Was it denied a visa?
Experts and the media were unanimous in saying the new Forest Code, which largely dismantled the sprawling Soviet-era network of forest protection, was one of the causes of the fires. But no changes to the Forest Code have been made.

One reason for the casualties was the ineffective response by authorities at all levels. Russia was already burning when Putin traveled to Crimea to ride a three-wheeled Harley-Davidson. People had already burned to death in the Nizhny Novgorod region when Governor Valery Shantsev reported that he didn’t need any help from Moscow. Not only did almost all of the villages that burned lack their own fire engines, but none were sent in from neighboring municipalities. Nizhny Novgorod authorities went so far as to threaten criminal charges against people who tried to save their homes from burning.

Now we have not seen any analysis whatsoever from the authorities concerning what happened — or more accurately, what didn’t happen. Accountable governments analyze their mistakes to learn from them. Unaccountable governments bury the past with visions of the future.

9 responses to “In Russia, a Childish government for a Childish People

  1. Manfred Steifschwanz

    Well, if the claim put forward here is true, then something “quite significant” must have happened this very month. Last time around here at LR on the subject of the Russian government’s relationship with the Russian people, we were told that >> Putin hates the Russian people, and it’s mutual >>. Or is this mutual distrust an expression of childishness in its own right?


    Are you illiterate, or just drunk?

    This article says that the Russian government is showing its hatred for the people by refusing to learn from its mistakes regarding the wildfires. Presumably, the people are not totally irrational animals and hate the government right back for its indifference to its welfare. This article is perfect support for our thesis, imbecile. That’s why we published it.

  2. Manfred Steifschwanz

    >> Are you illiterate, or just drunk? >>

    Wow — finally, at last, it did come, yes! The looong yearned for sign of appreciation from adorable Kim. The answer to your much poignant question is: Both — and neither. Lovesick people (men in particular) such as myself often do make a silly impression, mind you, dear.

    On a side note: Whose hate is most childish, and what can my coming spouse do about it?


  3. The official Soviet casualties were “only” around 15,000 killed and this number still remains the official one. How many really? Anyone’s guess.


    But nobody has explained why the Bryansk region went up in flames while the immediately adjacent areas of Belarus and Ukraine did not. If the heat was the only cause, why was it confined to Russia’s borders? Was it denied a visa?

    ANSWER :

    rus-sin burned like hell because the savage uncivilized pagan barbarians in the kremlin created hell on earth for 100,000,00 of human beings {Pronounced God’s Children} – for centuries!

  5. Latynina… Ah, where are those times when she wrote really good things. For example: “Mikhail Khodorkovsky: chemistry and life.”, 1999. I recommend it if you want to know the story of this “innocent businessman”. Cynical, clever and in detail. Though I am not sure if it was ever published in English.

    Three years later, though, she demonstrated wonderful “flexibility of thinking” and turned from a brilliant journalist and writer into a worker of “liberal values” propaganda machine, and her articles immediately became boring and began to repeat one another.

    Though, recently she surprised us a couple times, turning from chechenophilia and predictions of Saakashvili’s ultimate victory in 2008 back to sanity. That was suspicious… She isn’t a person who’d do something without reason…

    To bring an example:

    “The truth is that the term “human rights” is essentially an opposite to “law and “justice”. “Justice” – means that thieves are in prisons. “Human Rights” means protecting someone who is in prison, while finding impolite to inquire, what have they done to get there. He who asks – oh, sure he is a bloody-handed executioner, a henchman of FSB, FBI, or MOSSAD.”

    link to russian article:

    The same can be said about the article about fires.

    What does it mean? It means that hating oneselve’s own country comes out of fashion among Russian “hero-journalists”. As it is becoming mercilessly clear that Nemtsov, Kasyanov and Kasparov are dead for politics, and will never revive. As Luzhkov, a newly fired mayor (who holds a large part of responsibility for the consequences of those fires), stands in queue to receive a visa of United Kingdom…

    Things are getting interesting, aren’t they?

    From the Empire of Evil, with love.

  6. Laszlo Tooth Jr.

    Speaking of childishness, I greatly admire this blog. Whenever I read the latest hysterical rant about Russian food or tennis or women, I think to myself: “Wow, what class, what maturity! Few 7-year-old children of top Russian oligarchs can match the level of intellectual and emotional maturity of the author of this blog!“… OK, OK, on second thought, make it “5-year old” instead…

    • Manfred Steifschwanz

      Hey, no “backhanded compliments” to my gorgeous wife, OK?! She is anything but childish, mind you. By the way, her name is, from now on, Kim Steifschwanz.

  7. Mein Beileid, Mandfred.

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