Opera News published by the Metropolitan Opera Guild. Who could even thought of it!
You can hardly find someone who seriously believes in free and unbiased Western media. But do you think Opera is far from policy? Well, maybe it has been; however, not any longer.
Look what John Freedman has written about the "Russian Winter". Quite a piece of demagogy, quite expectable of an art critic in the field of art criticism, but not in the field of policy.
What does Valery Gergiev do? He supports Putin's repressive policies. Why 'Putin's policies' are repressive? Has John Freedman suffered? Who did suffer, and if did, why? Does Mr. Freedman know that in the USA there are way more convicted criminals, that in Russia, and recently, just for instance, there were riots in Fergusson; how are Obama's policies repressive in comparison to those of Putin?
Those policies have caused people inside and outside Russia to talk increasingly about a return to the worst tactics and attitudes from Russia’s Soviet past. The examples are legion. What follows is a small selection.Let's have a look at that Mr. Freedman considers examples from the 'legion of the worst tactics and attitudes'.
As Russia’s hostile response to the Maidan protests in Ukraine increases in December 2013, Russian state television unleashes a war of lies, fear and incrimination against anyone who disagrees with official policy — tactics on a level that had not been seen since at least the late 1940s, if not the height of the Purges in the late 1930s.Any normal state is supposed to react hostily to a coup d'état, and it was nothing more than a putsch, a coup in Kiev. Only he can talk about a 'war of lies, fear and incrimination' in Russian TV, who has never watched Ukrainian, which leaves far behind even such monsters of political propaganda as CNN, BBC, Deutsche Welle, etc. And — did Mr. Freedman witness the late 1940s in the USSR, let alone those great and evil Purges of the late 1930s, to compare with present time, I wonder?
After Russia hastily annexes the Crimean peninsula in March 2014, Putin borrows the phrase “national traitors” from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf to describe those who oppose his actions. As a result, the notion of “national enemies,” or “enemies of the people” — the latter phrase used to devastating effect by Stalin during the Purges — is revived in public discourse to refer to anyone not backing Kremlin policies.Bullshit for the stupid incapable of logic thought. For those who don't know history I remind: the Crimea was illegally given to Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic by Khruschev (physically remaining in one and the same country); after disintegration of the USSR the region as an autonomous republic had a right to choose which was violated by the Ukrainian power in 1992. After the Ukrainian coup, in March, 2014 the citizens of Crimea had a referendum at which vast, absolute majority voted for independence from Ukraine... In no way it was an annexation; it was rather incorporation or reincorporation, if you wish; in plain words, coming home. Just compare it with Kosovo where there was no single trace of democracy at all, and shut up.
As for the Mein Kampf, there are plenty of words used in the book; does anyone using them quote Hitler? As for national enemies of enemies of people — hostis publicus is a definition from the Roman law, Nero was declared one by the Senate back in AD 68, quite a great while before those Stalin Purges. Robespierre fought against enemies of public, and Stalin had not been designed yet at that time. Wait, wait, have a look. In 1930 Frank Loesch regarded Al Capone with his gangsters as public enemies, and afterwards Mr. Hoover of the FBI extensively used the definition to describe top wanted criminals. Was it Stalin who advised them such a term? What for have you gone out of the theatre, Mr. Freedman?
Political denunciations return with a vengeance: independent writers, artists, directors and performers are vilified by the Kremlin-friendly press, accused of perversion and sedition.Bullshit and quite an Orwellian doublespeak. Mr. Freedman; not all those who do not support the Kremlin are independent; not all those pro-Russion or patriotic are Kremlin-friendly. Yet at present those acting against Kremlin foreign policy act in favour of the USA and EU, against Russia. Having lived in Russia for 26 years you are supposed not to be such narrow-sighted, Mr. Freedman.
For the first time since the Soviet era, forced psychiatric treatment — read: incarceration in an asylum — is used as punishment for individuals convicted in political trials.Well, it seems like he has just an overdose of some ultra liberal press (which in our local conditions unfortunately means anti-Russian and russophobic, strongly devaluating abstractly perfect liberal values). It is so convenient, to allegate someone in all deadly sins not giving a single fact or name.
A law bans the use of obscenities on stage or screen.Well, maybe there is no such a law in the USA, but I wonder how many 'f-words' and 'c-words' I (or any movie character, for that matter) can freely express at the prime time on any US federal TV channel? Though as is, the law is a bit to strict, I have to admit; there should be provided some 'adult' areas.
Another law bans the casting of doubt on “official” historical accounts of World War II; history is no longer something to be studied, debated and understood but something the government defines.Well, not that bad. We are sick and tired of those who say it were the USA who took victory over Germany and won in the WW2. There are even idiots who say if Hitler conquered the USSR we would all drink Bavarian beer now. Such delusions definitely do not worth debating and studying.
Russian parliament’s so-called “anti-gay” law bans the “propagandizing of gay lifestyle to children.”Hey Mr. Freedman, anti-gay or anti-propagandizing to children? Do you as a theatre critic see and feel the difference? The law is called 'anti-gay' only by such russophobic doublespeakers as you. Generally. none in Russia is somehow concerned how are you doing in your bedroom; just do not fuck children; paedophilia is still a crime here (and I do hope it remain forever, irrespective of what they do in Europe).
Peaceful protesters, even individual pickets, are routinely muzzled and arrested, although individual pickets are expressly defended in the Russian constitution.Another piece of bullshit; 'peaceful protesters' have already become a mem, after the armed coup in Kiev conducted by those 'peaceful protesters'. Again, we see no names, dates and facts. Just and allegation. Well, Mr. Freedman; being in Russia, you can enjoy true and real freedom of speech you cannot even hope for in the USA or EU. And as for individual pickets — though our constitution does not deal with such tiny details of life, they are allowed by law and people do not have any troubles with them. Just try one!
Well, all the article is strongly biased in the way I have just commented. Just read it if you have not. You see: it is written by quite ea single-minded person whose superidea is that Russia is to blame and has no right for its own policy.
The only thing I'd like to add. Talking about those who 'support the Kremlin', Mr. Freedman takes such names as Valery Gergiev, Anna Netrebko, Oleg Tabakov, Yuri Bashmet — real geratest stars of Russian culture, known worldwide.
But talking about those sufferning, he names musicians Diana Arbenina, Andrey Makarevich (with all due respect, Russian rock is often called govnorok here, i.e. 'shitrock') and some other artists who share one thing in common: they are marginal. They do not form cultural space of Russia. They are just scene or TV personalities.
By the way: one of the images illustrating the article, is taken in London. The image itself is a good sample of biased journalism; it was taken using a super wideangle lens so that there was an impression of a huge mass of people gathered. The caption reads: "Human-rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, center, joins Ukrainian activists in a London protest". Could one please explain how a London protest is related to the theme under discussion? And, last but not least, why 'Ukrainian activists' do their protest in London, and not in Kiev?
How can a theatre critic who has lived in Russia for 26 years compare Gergiev and Bashmet to Arbenina and Makarevich? Gold to clay? You've worked evidently too hard, Mr. Freedman, isn't it a high time to take a leave and have a rest?