Friday, March 23, 2018

Kamchatka Broadcaster Suspended for Calling Putin Voters ‘Primates’ Speaks Out

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 23 – The managers of Kamchatka’s Radio SV on March 20 suspended Rosina Budans for comments she made a day earlier about the presidential election in which she described those who voted for Vladimir Putin as “primates.” Her remarks have sparked discussions on social media across Russia, and she has now spoken out about her case.

            Budans observed on air the day after the elections that “the farce of course has been completed,” with some getting food and vodka at the voting booths where they cast their ballots for “stability.” But she then asked “Does it seem to you that you should call what exists in Russia stability?” (

            “A stably bad life in a country full of energy and other resources, a country where politicians build themselves palaces abroad and pensioners die from hnger and cold, invalids cannot go out on the streets, and workers of socially important professions can scarcely make ends meet,” Budans said. “Such stability has triumphed.”

            But as for herself, she continued, she has ever more often had the impression that she “lives in a country where 74 percent of the citizens are primates,” adding she wanted to give “a special greeting” to those in Kamchatka who stuffed the ballot boxes. “How do you sleep at night?” she asked. “In a stable fashion perhaps?”

            The following day she was suspended from appearing on air after calls from the local government, according to her, but by station management on its own, according to station management. Vitaly Kim who runs the station said that this was “an internal affair of the editors. There were no phone calls from the government.”

            What attracted the most attention was Budans’ use of the work “primates.”  The Kamchatinfo news service in reporting this noted that the word refers to “one of the most progressive branches” of animal life, “including “monkeys and MAN.”  Not surprisingly, most who reacted positively or negatively took her reference to be to the former.

            Now Denis Golovatenko, the news editor of the After Empire portal in Tallinn, has spoken with Budans by telephone and published her responses.  He asked her if she had been fired and she said “not yet,” only suspended from appearing on air. “I hope they won’t fire me,” she said (

                Budans defended her remarks: “I said what I thought, society was divided into two camps, and there was reaction. The local election committee demanded public apologies; certain listens as well; and the radio station’s contracts were disappearing.” 

            “If they fire me,” the woman now known in certain circles as “the voice of Free Kamchatka” said she would publish a book she has almost completed.  It is called “Interference,” and there are “a few words about primates. But it isn’t about politics and Putin. It is fiction, about prostitution and a serial murder. A thriller!”

            Asked if she was afraid, she said she wasn’t: “I want to believe that I will survive!”

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