Lie in Russian politics

Kovalev is right saying how endemic have become the Russian authorities’ invariable tactics of lie. This eventually leads to rise of cynicism among all people, corruption etc. But I wonder how much lie is permissible, after all politicians around the world lie almost all the time. So what is the crucial difference?I would say that in Russia politicians are never held responsible for conscious lying. Lie is not perceived as a crime or shameful thing to do, lie is not only a way of building a career and a way of survival, but also genuine customary way of life in Russian politics with no one to challenge it as the opposition has practically faded away.Russians’ own great writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky indicated in his unusual short story “Dream of the funny person” how grave lie’s consequences can be. But even though Russian leadership quotes Russian classics all the time, they must have missed reading some short stories.

The lie which you so decisively have again established in government use and which you are incapable of rejecting has an important and extremely dangerous quality – I would say a particularly corrupting force. The point is that the majority of your listeners don’t believe you, and that includes your convinced supporters. That is, they are of course pleased with “United Russia’s” victory, but they understand very well whatever you say how the mould for such a victory was set.We have a paradoxical change – you lie, your listeners know this and you know that they don’t believe you, only pretend to believe, and yet they also know that you know they don’t believe you. Everybody knows everything. The very lie no longer aspires to deceive anyone, from being a means of fooling people it has for some reason turned into an everyday way of life, a customary and obligatory rule for living. You have a Mr Markov, supposedly a professor, supposedly a political expert, and in fact a hardened and dense cynic. Speaking with him about our “politics”, a journalist said: “lies have short legs”. “Human memory is even shorter”, was Markov’s response. Horrible, yet it would seem that this is in fact the case. Of course they’ll forget a lot about the two grubby spectacles in succession in a couple of months after 2 March. However they’ll never forget something else – that the top figures of the state lie through their teeth. And how could they forget when lying is your natural element?This memory is catastrophic and its results irreparable because the customary lies of leaders always generate and cultivate cynicism in society and cannot achieve anything else. Whatever your people now say about freedom being better than lack of freedom, about the right to self-expression and so forth, these pompous speeches are fixedly (and fairly, by the way) perceived as a continuation of your untruth. They’re mere words. There is exactly the same attitude to the bombastic ambitiousness of your utterances about the guaranteed phenomenal and swiftest successes in all conceivable areas, matters and issues.

Sergei Kovalev: Open Letter | Права человека в России


2 thoughts on “Lie in Russian politics

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