Monday, July 20, 2015

Ten Top Absurdities of Russian Public Policy This Week

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 20 – Some weeks bring more, some less, but every week produces a rich harvest of manifestations of “official insanity” in Russia, according to Vera Yurchenko of Moscow’s “Novaya gazeta” newspaper. Today, she publishes her “top 10” list from the last seven days and asks readers to vote for their favorites (

            This week’s list includes:

1.      Natalya Poklonskaya, the procurator in Russian-occupied Crimea, declared that she “thanks God” the West has imposed sanctions on Russia. It shows that the West is afraid of Russia and helps officials to work better. As Yurchenko notes, this week’s list of absurdities could have consisted “entirely of Poklonskaya citations.” For example, she also declared that the abdication of Nicholas II was invalid because he signed it in pencil not ink.

2.      Yanina Pavlenko, who oversees wine production in Crimea, however, is upset that Moscow has not imposed sanctions on French and Italian wines. She has appealed to Vladimir Putin to impose a ban on the import of European wines so that Crimean wines will get a boost in sales.

3.      Education Minister Dmitry Livanov said that the Day of the Reunification of Crimea would join the Day of Russia, the Day of National Unity and the Victory Day as one of the four main holidays of the year and form the basis on which “will be organized the entire system of educational methods.”

4.      Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky told RBK that those people call liberals are simply “Internet clickers or their idols,” adding that “these are not liberals but a totalitarian state” and that those who are called “obscurantists and retrogrades’ are much more tolerant and objective than so-called liberals.”

5.      Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the outspoken leader of the LDPR, suggested that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko should give him the Ukrainians Roshen factory in Lipetsk. In exchange, the Russian politician said, he would drop his claims on the company’s factor in Kostopol, “which was built on the site of the company of his grandfather.”

6.      Vitaly Milonov, a deputy in St. Petersburg’s legislative assembly, said that Russian officials must intervene in cases where children may be exposed to LGBT parents because the influence of the latter on the former is “much worse” than that of alcoholic parents.  “The government must not hypocritically stand aside” from this danger, he added.

7.      Elena Mizulina, the Duma deputy who is to be elevated to the Federation Council and who has long distinguished herself for truly absurd and even disturbing proposals, last week called for amending Russia’s Family Code to insert the principle of the presumption of good intentions on the part of parents so that they will not be punished if their children or those working for their children bring charges of abuse against them.  “In a Russian family,” she said, “the child must not be equal to the parents, and it is necessary to defend this traditional value.”

8.      Petersburg deputy Yevgeny Marchenko wants Moscow to prohibit Russians from taking vacations in Turkey, Egypt, and Thailand because in such places, there are “accidents on the roads, criminality flourishes, and the climate is different than ours.”  If a ban can’t be imposed by law, then he suggests that the government should limit the number of flights to such places, introduce a visa regime, or raise the price of insurance to discourage Russians from travelling.

9.      Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said he would divorce his wife if she ever served him food from elsewhere that she could obtain in Chechnya.

10.  Viktor Ivanov, who heads Russia’s counter-narcotics program, says that Western intelligence services appear to be behind the spread of spice drugs in Russia, a follow-on to his earlier suggestion that US and UK centers were drugging people to promote the organization of color revolutions.

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