Staunton, December 5 – One of the most powerful and disturbing images in all of cinematography comes at the end of Costa-Gavras’ 1969 film, “Z.” First the screen goes black when the Greek colonels arrest the investigating magistrate, and then there appears an ever longer list of things the colonels have banned, ranging from chewing gum to Plato.
But now a similar development is occurring in Vladimir Putin’s Russia as officials both in Moscow and in the regions compete with one other to expand the list of attitudes and actions that they say fall under the rubric of “anti-state activity” and insist must be excluded from Russian life by official actions and public censure.
It is impossible to report about all such official efforts to “protect” Russians and Russia from such things – they are coming at too rapid a rate -- but an event this week at Kuban State University provides a horrific exemplar, one that should recall Pastor Niemoeller’s observation about what happens when no one protests against attacks on others.
Valeriy Zuyev, the deputy dean at the university, sent a message to the head of the journalism faculty saying that an analysis of student accounts in the VKontakte social network shows that “students ‘are conducting anti-state activity and supporting opposition views” (typodar.ru/zhurfak-kubgu-vedyot-spiski-studentov-vedushhih-antigosudarstvennuyu-deyatelnost/).
Zuyev called for the journalism dean to discipline the students involved and to prevent them from continuing to study journalism at the university. Among the “anti-state” activities he pointed to were the following:
· Support for “liberal communities of a pro-Western direction.”
· Involvement in lesbian relationships.
· Involvement in drug groups
· Involvement in any LGBT group “propagandizing hatred of men.”
· Support for LGBT groups.
· Ultra-radical football fans.
· Interest in news about the opposition.
· Covert support for LGBT.
· Support for the KPRF.
· “Ultra-radical feminism of the extremist kind.”