А судьи кто? —
За древностию лет
К свободной жизни их вражда непримирима,
Сужденья черпают из забытых газет
и покоренья Крыма.
But who are these judges?
Since ancient times
They have been irreconcilably hostile to freedom.
They get their opinons from old
Newspapers, from Ochakov’s time,
When we conquered Crimea.
(Chatsky’s rant, from Griboedov’s ГОРЕ ОТ УМА)
Today I have this story from Interfax. The Russian Duma (or Parliament) today (Thursday March 7) adopted what is basically a media censorship law. Ostensibly this law protects the (very fragile) public against “fake news” and other horrors, such as disrespecting national symbols!
The proposed legislation went through 3 readings before the final wording was adopted. The vote was not unanimous, though. Fortunately, there are still a few hardy souls out there who believe in Freedom of Speech. Deputies from the Communist Party; from Zhirinovsky’s Party; and from the “Just Russia” Party either voted against the law, or abstained. The final tally was 78 nays versus 322 yays. Since the legislation was proposed and supported by United Russia, which operates pretty much like a one-party government, then the outcome was completely predictable.
During the debate, Opposition Deputies declared that they were not opposed to the righteous struggle against “Fake News”, they are just worried about censorship. And indeed, even a child can see that modern “democratic” governments, including Russia, are using the “fake news” issue to candy-coat their attempts to control political opinion on the internet.
Indeed, Deputy Alexei Kurinny from the Communist Party noted the “fluidity of the formulations” threatening this or that legal action against non-compliers. He speculated that “an order could come” from on high, as to which “information” being touted is fake.
Indeed, who is to be the Decider of which news is fake, and which is authentic? As Griboedov’s Chatsky once asked, “Who is to be the judge?”
Who Is To Blame?
Well, we actually know who the judges are, and whom we shall blame for this monstrous attack against freedom of speech: United Russia Senators Andrei Klishas (his name sounds like a cliché); and Liudmila Bokova; along with Duma Deputy Dmitry Vyatkin.
All of these people, by the way, especially the so-called Senators, are completely illegitimate, in my humble opinion. After bringing down the much-more democratic system of the Soviet representatives, these bourgeois upstarts set up this monstrously undemocratic bi-cameral system which partially apes the American 2-chamber legislative branch. All part of the plan to set up a crusty governing elite that cannot be removed by the people; all the better to offer free rein to the voracious capitalist class. Boo hiss! And the worst part of this legislation is not even the attack against fake news. The “fake news” bit is just the lure. No person in their right mind wants to see a liar yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. So innocent dupes will go along with the entire package, which also punishes honest people, for examples, bloggers, for “disrespect”. Disrespect towards what? Well, towards “state symbols”, for example. Would that include the fake-tsarist double-headed eagle, or the fake tricolor Russian flag, which the Yeltsinites borrowed from the самозванец Alexander Kerensky?
I’m not even joking here: The bill will lay out fines up to one and a half million Rubles for DISOBEYING. And that’s serious money, even by the standards of the inflated Russian currency. To be sure, the public is assured that only wrong-doers will be punished: Those who sow panic or misinformation leading to public calamities. But again, I think most of us smart people (and cynics) know where that slippery slope leads… Next thing you know, some innocent blogger like myself will be making fun of the Russian flag, calling it a Kerensky flag, or something like that, and The Powers That Be will get all huffy and puffy… And speaking of the Russian tricolor, who designed that monstrosity anyhow? What kind of idiot would put the white strip on the top, where it can’t even be seen half the time, especially against a white background? Sheeeshhh.