Putin the TV Puppet Master (Image: Zina Saunders)
Anyone who watches Moscow television would assume the country was in the midst of an election campaign – there are learned discussions of who will win and why, what participation is likely to be, and what role if any outside players have in determining the outcome, Kseniya Kirillova says.
And he or she would be right, the Russian media is in the midst of an election campaign but it is a campaign taking place not in Russia where competitive elections for president haven’t occurred in decades but in Ukraine where they have become an entirely normal phenomenon, the US-based Russian journalist says.
To be sure, Kirillova continues, the Russian commentators put their own spin on events in Ukraine about which as things stand now they must say only bad things of nothing at all; but it is clear that they are taking a certain vicarious pleasure in the kind of competition a real election offers and that they haven’t seen in their own country in some time.
What is not known is whether Russians are receiving the message the Kremlin wants delivered or whether they are seeing in all this reporting a system that they can easily recognize as likely to be far more responsive to the demands of ordinary people than is the case in their own country.
In a word, the journalist says, “Ukraine yet again has given Moscow the chance to play at the imitation of the political process” it doesn’t allow at home, a dangerous game to be sure because some of its audience may decide that a competitive democracy is exactly what they themselves would like to have.
As a result, Kirillova continues, “one cannot but agree with the precise ironic commentary of Ivan Davydov about ‘the Ukrainian occupation of Russia.’
By means of the Kremlin’s efforts, Ukraine already for six years has successfully controlled the Russian information space and defined the worldview of Russians and their agenda.”
According to the Russian journalist, “the Kremlin will do everything possible to extend this occupation for as long as possible,” clearly not aware that it is engaged in something that could backfire on it in ways exactly the opposite of what it clearly hopes for and even expects.
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