Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mother Russia, Ctd.

From Esquire:
Putin Plays the World for Suckers, and Wins
The real meaning of today's arrest of two members of Pussy Riot
By Stephen Marche on February 18, 2014

This morning, Maria Alekhina and Nadezdha Tolokonnikova, two member of the protest group Pussy Riot, were sitting in a McDonalds in Sochi when "around fifty" plainclothes police officers arrested them "for robbery," according to their Twitter feeds. They were out of prison for a little less than two months, just enough for the world to feel slightly better about attending the gangster Olympics. And now the facade from Russia's Potemkin human rights has been abruptly pulled away. If Putin's plan with the Sochi Olympics was to mock democratic values, to show that everyone in the West can be played for suckers, and to demonstrate our hypocrisy to the rest of the world, he has completely succeeded.

The very stupidity of the nature of the arrest is clearly strategic. Pussy Riot were arrested while they were minding their own business, and for no good reason. George Orwell noted in a letter about why he wrote 1984 that the point of the police state is not to demonstrate the state's control over people's bodies but their capacity to shape accepted reality. A police state needs to impose absurdity to show the depths of its power. Putin could easily have waited for Pussy Riot to stage a protest, to cause a disruption, and then arrested them on the basis of "hooliganism" as he did in 2012. Instead, he saw to it that they were arrested for the silliest of reasons, and made sure everybody knew how silly those reasons were.

Of course, this strongman tactic fits into his vision for Russia perfectly...


Anonymous said...

I'm sure it's Edward Snowden's fault somehow.

m said...

The government of Russia is behaving in an authoritarian fashion.

In other startling news:

The Department of Agriculture has confirmed that a pig's butt is classified as "pork".

The Vatican confirmed today that Pope Francis is, indeed, a member in good standing of the Roman Catholic Church.

And finally, the Forestry Service confirmed today that ursine mammals continue to defecate in wooded areas.

And Drifty's point is...?

Horace Boothroyd III said...


It certainly certainly throws a spotlight on the horrors of Police State America.

Anonymous said...

Wait, this throws a spotlight on the horrors of the largest prison state in the world how?

Never mind, look over there. Shiny.

Anonymous said...

A police state needs to impose absurdity to show the depths of its power.

As does Fox News, who have the same authoritarian mentality. Sometimes I think they're just pranking their drooler audience to see how stupid they can make their fairytales and still have them believed.

Anonymous said...

Aaand they're out.

What a strongman tactic that was.

Monster from the Id said...

I am "m" who made the second comment. I hit the mouse button at the wrong time. :P

Not for the first time, I notice that Blogger is not very user-friendly.

Neither is Captcha, for that matter.