Saturday, July 14, 2018

Not Just Navalny – Putin Doesn’t Talk about a Growing List of People and Events

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 13 -- Just as there are sins of commission and omission, so too Vladimir Putin controls the Russian media environment both by what he chooses to lie about and what he decides not to mention.His unwillingness to pronounce Aleksey Navalny’s name has become legendary, but there are many other people and events the Kremlin leader never speaks about

            The BBC’s Russian Service has provided a list of some of the things Putin has been kept quiet about and thus ensured that there is less coverage of them than would otherwise be the case by Russian media who can take the hint and by Western media that without a Putin quote often decide not to write anything up (

            The list, which the service entitles “What Putin has Been Quiet About,” includes both those things he has never mentioned and those he has mentioned either long after the fact (when it won’t affect coverage) or in such an indirect way that those who are not paying the closest attention may not have noticed.

            The list, which could be extended to many more things, includes the following subjects:

·         The Kursk submarine disaster in 2000

·         Russian government plans to raise the pension age on the population but not that of the siloviki

·         Putin’s decision to return to the presidency after Medvedev had been in office only one term

·         Aleksey Navalny for his opposition campaign and for his efforts to become a presidential candidate in 2018

·         Viktor Yanukovich’s flight from Kyiv in 2014

·         The Skripal poisoning case in Great Britain

·         The 2011 meetings calling for honest elections

·         The Panama Dossier about money laundering by Russian oligarchs

·         The anti-corruption meetings of 2017.

            In each case, the BBC provides a discussion of Putin’s silence and when or if he broke it, thus establishing a useful checklist of an oft-neglected way in which the Kremlin leader is distorting the news by avoiding the kind of comment that a nominally elected official can be reasonably be expected to make.

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