Friday, December 31, 2021

Eight New Anecdotes Say More about Russia Today than Any Commentary

Paul Goble

             Staunton, Nov. 9 – As Russians struggle to make sense of what is going on in their country at a time of increasing repression, they like their Soviet ancestors are using anecdotes to explain things, an approach that combines insight with political deniability and that often offers more insights than any commentary.

             Moscow writer Tatyana Pushkaryova has been offering a collection of the latest ones now circulating on almost a weekly basis. In her latest sample posted on the Publicist portal (, the following are especially instructive:

 ·       “Four persons of a Slavic nationality attacked a Daghestani youth in Makachkala, and their lawyer insists that the young man attacked them first,” a reversal of the recent case in Moscow and something most Russians assume could not possibly happen.

 ·       Russian siloviki repeatedly rape their male prisoners even though they are among the very first to complain about the spread of homosexual culture in the West.

 ·       A missionary approaches a Russian and says “We want to speak with you about God. Aren’t you afraid of dying tomorrow?” The Russian replies, “No. I live in Russia and am afraid of living here tomorrow.”

 ·       “Our politicians are like tanks,” some Russians say, not because they can’t be defeated but because they aren’t afraid of getting covered in dirt.

 ·       Russia Today has ordered its journalists to stop referring to the Taliban as a terrorist organization, apparently because the bosses in Moscow see nothing wrong with the kinds of repressive moves that Afghan group is using given that Russian siloviki use many of the same.

 ·       “Does it seem to you that in the chaos all around, you are the only person who has remained psychologically health? If so, accept our congratulations: you have successfully passed the test, ‘Know and Study Your Region.’”

 ·       It is no surprise that Russian officials are now requiring people to get covid shots. After all, Putin promised the reverse. But his track record is such that anything he promises is a reliable indication that he will do just the reverse.

 ·       Russians say it is entirely proper that governors should be given life terms – but not in government offices but in government prisons.

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