Here’s a truism: in times of tragedy, people’s real colors show through. In Russia, the Land of No Filters, that process takes no time at all. Also? Them’s ain’t colors; them’s some weird tie-dyed checkers.
Today, four days after Oleg Kashin was beaten into an artificial coma, the story arc — at first full of an uncharacteristic empathy and unity, even on the part of the authorities — has plumb-lined straight into the ground.
In case you missed the unfolding and infuriating shitshow, here’s a quick rundown. Of the shitshow:
- Yesterday, at a meeting of the President’s Public Chamber (a government body that looks over proposed legislation and monitors parliament), the case of Kashin as well as other put-upon journalists was discussed. Irina Plescheeva, a commissar of the Nashi movement and chair of the Center for the Development of Youth Media, took the opportunity to state that, whatever, Kashin wasn’t even all that talented. Moreover, the way to stop attacks on journalists in Russia was very easy indeed: Just stop “giving people a pretext for murder.” Done!
- Kirill Schitov, a representative in the Moscow City Duma and member of the ruling council of Molodaya Gvardia, wrote about how unfair it was to point fingers at his youth group. “The attack on Kashin has been most profitable for members of the liberal opposition,” he wrote.
- Meanwhile, the opposition is trying to make good on Schitov’s claim by, of course, signing petitions and getting into their usual internal squabbles over the petition’s content.
- Mikhail Beketov, the editor-in-chief of a local Moscow region paper who was an environmental activist fighting to save the Khimki forest, was beaten so badly in 2008 that he’s had a leg and several fingers amputated, is missing parts of his skull, and is barely able to speak (see above or this photo gallery). Beketov’s beating bears a striking resemblance to Kashin’s.Today, finally brought justice for him. He was found guilty of slandering the local mayor, Vladimir Strelchenko. Strelchenko is a thuggish individual thought to have ordered the attack (as well as the killing of Beketov’s dog and the torching of his car) in the first place.Best part(s)? Beketov, who had to be accompanied by a whole medical team into the courtroom (transport costs up to $200 each time he’s dragged to court), kept trying to utter something while Strelchenko delivered a rousing soliloquy, but, obviously, couldn’t; he then felt so ill, that he had to leave before the judge could ever so sweetly wave the $160 fine.The criminal investigation in Beketov’s beating, in the meantime, has been suspended. Again.
- Speaking of other journalists who don’t have the luck of working for President Medvedev’s oligarch buddies, let’s take a look into what’s happening with Anatoly Adamchuk, a journalist for another local paper who fought the cutting down of a different forest. Adamchuk was also attacked over the weekend and remains hospitalized.This proved very convenient for the local police, who came to interrogate him in his hospital bed. One of the theories they’re going on? Adamchuk beat himself up.
- Sergei Lopatnikov, a scientist at the University of Delaware for chrissake, has weighed in, too. “The little shit Oleg Kashin has been beaten up,” he wrote on his now-scrubbed LiveJournal. “It was a quality beating. A just one. My wish: may he croak.”
It’s a good thing Kashin has just now regained consciousness, so he can see the stupid, awful shit his countrymen are doing.