Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Russian Parliamentarians Respond to Demographic Report with ‘Deafening Silence’

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 24 – In recent months, Russian deputies and senators have tpeppered executive branch officials making their reports with question after question.  But when Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova spoke on demography and health care, she was met by “a deafening silence,” Moskovsky Komsomolets reports.

            Despite the importance of her subjects, she was not asked a single question, something so unusual that the Moscow paper felt compelled to call attention to it and ask why (

            It seems unlikely that “everything is clear” as those chairing the meeting declared after no one rose to ask her a question. And that suggests three possibilities: First, of course, the issues Golikova discussed may seem so sensitive that deputies feared that asking questions could attract unwelcome attention to themselves by the powers that be. Better to let things ride.

            Second, the deputies are increasingly suspicious of talking about any official numbers – and statistics dominated the deputy prime minister’s report – because they are aware of the yawning gap between “government reports” and the real world  (

            Or third, the parliamentarians may think the issues Golikova is talking about are either not significant to them or are completely beyond their control. If either of these explanations is the case, then the deputies are almost as distant from the population as Rosstat statistics are from the real world. 

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