Staunton, July 4 – The death of naval personnel in the latest submarine disaster is a human tragedy and should not be transformed into a political battle between those who believe in the government and those who don’t, Vladimir Pastukhov, a London-based Russian political commentator.
But that doesn’t mean that the event and the way it is being handled by the powers that be is not an appropriate time to focus on another tragedy, the absence of divisions of power which ensure that more than one side will investigate what happened and report accordingly, he continues (echo.msk.ru/programs/personalnovash/2456323-echo/).
Instead, in Russia, where there is no division of powers, the Kremlin is in a position to insist on its point of view without any possibility that there will be any independent investigations. And because an increasing number of Russians do not believe whatever the government says, that transforms what should be viewed as a human tragedy into a political one.
Those who support the government will insist that whatever it says is true; and those who oppose it will argue that the government is lying and, more than that, is guilty of everything that has gone wrong, an attitude that means that events like this one are a political tragedy not just for the country as a whole but for the regime itself.
Over time, some but likely not all information about the tragedy will leak out, but because it will do so in that way, those on these two sides will choose from it what they want, thus reinforcing their positions rather than leading to any willingness to recognize the complexity of the case.
In normal countries, Pastukhov continues, the executive may want to keep things secret; but the parliaments will hold hearings and more will get out in a way that will contribute to the formation of a common opinion about the tragedy rather than the tragedy growing worse because it will cause those favoring the regime and those opposing it to move ever farther apart.