Staunton, June 18 – So far this week – and it is only day two! -- the Russian media have featured at least five “only in Russia” stories, some of which are funny at one level but most of which are deeply troubling at another. The five are:
· An official who stole at least 26 million rubles (430,000 US dollars) from government accounts has been sentenced … “to six years of freedom,” in the words of the MBK news agency, yet another consequence of the Putin regime’s taking care of its own while repressing and stealing from the population at large (mbk.media/region/ministr-i-svyazi/).
· A group of Russian scholars argues in new research that feminism is a major cause of the growth of crime among Russian. By adopting feminist ideas, the researchers say, women are in many cases led down the garden path to criminal activity (versia.ru/rossijskie-yuristy-poschitali-feminizm-prichinoj-rosta-prestupnosti).
· A conference of nationalistically inclined linguists and sociologists say that Russia need to adopt as soon as possible “a clear ideological doctrine on language” so that it will be in a position to defend and promote Russian against other languages foreign and domestic (ruskline.ru/news_rl/2018/06/18/rossii_srochno_nuzhna_yasnaya_yazykovaya_ideologiya/).
· The backers of the acting head of the Altai Republic have made a very public promise to him that they will secure him “120 percent of the votes” in the upcoming election. That figure exceeds even what the leaders of some of the North Caucasus republics have been promised and received (regnum.ru/news/polit/2432932.html).
· Punitive psychiatry, one of the most horrific elements in the late Soviet system, is making a comeback under Putin; but now the jailors in white have come up with a new diagnosis to be used against those who engage in dissent. In Soviet times, they were said to suffer from “sluggish schizophrenia.” Now, they are said to display an overly developed interest in “unhealthy activity” (svoboda.org/a/29293375.html).
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