Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Russian Internet Users Turn Thumbs Down on Putin’s New Year’s Message

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 1 – Russian users of the Internet gave an overwhelmingly negative assessment of Vladimir Putin’s address to the nation, with “dislikes” outnumbering “likes” five to one on the Russia I channel website and six to one on the First Channel portal, an assessment not only of his speech but of his presidency (echo.msk.ru/news/2344415-echo.html).

            Criticism of the Kremlin leader and his speech also spread to other Internet platforms, including Facebook.  A typical example is the comment of a Russian blogger who posts as Vitaly Oi (facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1054198951419526&id=100004882928644; reposted at  
            His words capture much that many of those critical of Putin think and feel on this Near Year’s Day:

“Dear Volodya!” Oi writes. “Thank you for such a heartfelt greeting on New Year’s. Honestly, I had thought that it would be again about rockets and paradise. I was surprised and in a good way!

“However, I am compelled to disappoint you.

“First, there is no mention of ‘we.’ There is only you, your friends, your bureaucracy, and your ‘siloviki who for their own enrichment are trying together with the priests to push Russia back to the 16th century, and we who are trying despite all the obstacles created by your government to draft Russia into the 21st.

“Second, there are no ‘essential tasks in the economy, science and technology, health care, education and culture that you and your friends, bureaucracy, and ‘siloviki’ are capable of resolving, just as you all could not create ‘an International Financial Center’ in Moscow which you promised in 2012 to create, ’25 million new high technology jobs,’ and ‘a Silicon Valley in Skolkovo.’

“No offense, but you simply aren’t capable of doing do. You and your friends, the bureaucracy and ‘the siloviki’ simply don’t know what it is to be involved with constructive work instead of dividing up the budget and the property of others for yourselves.

“Third, as a result of your efforts and those of your friends, your bureaucracy and your ‘siloviki,’ we, the citizens of Russia, are becoming only ever poorer. You and your command arranged the collapse of the ruble, raised taxes, raised the pension age, and since 2014 have confiscated the pension savings of the population. With you, we feel only changes for the worse.

Fourth, we will nonetheless break through ‘into the future,’ but with you, your friends, your bureaucracy and your ‘siloviki.’ You are not Russia. After you, Russia will remain and begin to develop technologically, culturally, and economically and people will become richer. But not as a result of your efforts to steal from us but in spite of them. Not the bureaucrats, nor the Orthodox Cossacks, nor the bikers, nor the priests, nor your fellow KGB officers will develop Russia, but the despised ‘creative people’ (engineers, scholars, and technological entrepreneurs) you have stolen from.

”All the same, thanks for your kind words. Be well!

“Your landsman, that same ‘creative person’ who is an engineer and an honest taxpayer.”

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