April 3, 2017 - Fort Russ News -
Ruslan Ostashko, Live Journal - translated by J. Arnoldski -
The dream of every internet-potato has come true, the dream of all those who ran around social media crying “Why is Putin silent?! Why is Putin saying nothing about corruption? Why is he not commenting on the demonstrations of students demanding justice?” All of these people can be congratulated, because the President has noticed them and said what he thinks about the anti-corruption agenda that is so stirring the internet public.
In general, the desire to be noticed is a very teenage and rather infantile approach to political life. However, this suits the age of those who took to the streets on Navalny’s call as well as those released who are now sitting at home on the couch. This desire to be noticed by the government despite the fact that they have no specific program besides slogans like “for everything good and against everything bad” reminds me of a joke about a lost tourist.
There’s a dense forest. A lost tourist is in the forest and shouting something. A bear comes to the source of the noise and asks: “What’s all the racket”? The tourist says that he’s lost and that he screamed so that someone would find him. “Well here I’ve found you,” the bear says, “better now?” In this case, the role of the bear, our national symbol, is played by Vladimir Putin, and Navalny plays the role of the tourist.
If we switch to youth slang and are more exact, then the President, specifically for the sake of our youngest and most naive citizens, has had to put on another role - the role of Captain Obvious. Putin said that fighting corruption is necessary, but organizing an “Arab Spring” or another “color revolution” in the country is not, because this ends badly and has nothing to do with fighting corruption.
For the record, nowhere - literally nowhere - where local “Navalny’s” have won and seized power, including by using anti-corruption slogans, has corruption become any less. A paradox, is it not? There's only more corruption, poverty and social inequality.
A few years ago, it was really popular among liberal journalists to discuss how Arab youth armed with cell phones and Twitter, who went out to overthrow the governments in their countries on the wave of the so-called Arab Spring, were the future and key for turning any country into an oasis of enlightenment and democracy. Do you know why these talks stopped and now no one prefers the Arab Spring in public?
Because those youth with Twitter did not bring happiness to a single country in which they were allowed to frolic. In the very best case, they were simply cheated by experienced, manipulative politicians who sat in the seats of old politicians and started looting with a vengeance under the cover of Western countries. In the worst cases, instead of boring stability, these young people brought trendy, stylish, and youthful civil war, like in Syria.
Interviews with those Syrian youth who several years ago supported the anti-government rallies and wanted “lace panties and the EU” - oh, and a “fight against corruption” and “life like in Europe” - occasionally catch my eye. Now they really regret that stability went away somewhere and that attempts to organize “youth democracy Twitter-style” somehow led to ISIS drowning the country in blood.
Putin outlined the government’s clear, rational, and coherent position. First of all, the government is fighting corruption and will continue to do so. This is a special message for those who were too busy in recent months to notice the several governors and even federal minister arrested, not to mention high-profile cases in the Ministry of Culture. Secondly, the government will not allow anyone to use the theme of fighting corruption to break the country.
In fact, fighting corruption will soon become much handier, as some of those people coming out to illegal rallies in the hopes of getting 10,000 euros will then only be really surprised that they’ve been cheated and that the Duma and Prosecutor's Office are working out a law allowing the incomes and expenses of officials to be monitored even after retirement from civil service.
This is an important and effective anti-corruption tool which, in the apt expression of the head of the Duma Committee for Security and Combatting Corruption, Vasiliy Piskaryov, “will deprive the corrupt of the most important: the ability to use funds obtained illegally.” I really can’t wait for the approval of this bill in the Duma so as to then, with pleasure, watch as prosecutors start going over some former federal and regional officials with one question: “Where do you have so much money from?” It will be interesting to hear their answers, especially since many former officials found themselves, voluntarily or not, the owners of substantial assets after retiring. Now let’s see where this all came from. In fact, the practice of checking state income and assets of unknown origin is already in place, and the Prosecutor's Office might in the near future turn out to be a very important source of replenishing the state budget.
In this particular example, it is obvious how the fight against corruption looks. And it looks nothing like walking around town with Navalny, flash mobs, and showing off shoes.
Navalny arrested, caught in expensive shoes worth 16,490 rubles
And finally, I am often told that the government is not explaining to youth why we should suffer from sanctions, why we went to Syria and Ukraine, and why we have such difficult relations with the beautiful Western world from which we have such beautiful things like the iPhone and Facebook. Explaining this is in fact not difficult at all, since any young person can understand this: Russia is a country with a thousand years of history, but a very young character. It is a country ready to overcome difficulties, but ready to agree to live only by its own mind and its own rules. This is our special way of life and we like it this way.
Today in the world, there is no freer and more driven country than Russia. And I am sure that even the portion of the new generation that now expects 10,000 euros from Navalny will become wiser with time and take care of our beautiful country.
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