God vs. Putin
16 August, 2012
God vs. Putin

On my visit to Italy, I had a chance to spend a night and half a day in Eco Del Mare, an exclusive resort in Lerici on the cost. Eco Del Mare is a small (by American standards) boutique resort, the kind you see in travel magazines, where all the details from the bellowing nets of the canopies to the private elevator down to the private beach make you feel like you are in paradise on earth. I got in really late night, as I got lost a few times driving in from Modena. 

I was welcomed and greeted by a wonderful hostess, who was also the one who guided me when I called twice in panic on the road. I was walked down to the private elevator and in half dark I saw the beautifully low lit beach and hotel. At midnight the chef stayed up to prepare me the most delicious (although I suspect snails would have been delicious to me at that point because I hadn’t eaten in six hours) and the hostess, my guide and my savior took me to my room where I passed out to the sound of waves rocking back and forth. I woke up seven hours later still to the sound of the sea. So it wasn’t a dream. I breathed the clear air everyone always mentions when they go to the beach and I walked down to the beach. I knew I had an article to write about, and I knew the topic was going to be three young women stuck in a dark cell somewhere in Moscow awaiting the logical conclusion to the absurdist theater that has been playing out for the entire world to see. But as I jumped into a welcoming sea swam away from the beach I thought less and less about work. I had almost forgotten about the article, about the girls in jail, about my editor who was waiting for the article, yesterday. I almost made it all the way to the boat the hotel got for me to take out to the sea, when I first saw a bold head with under water goggles popped up right in front of me take his mouth piece out and yell some foul things in Russian to a woman on the beach, who responded in an equally loud and cursive manner. Even in this paradise... There was just

no way around it, I had to get back to the beach and whip out my computer. I am not complaining, I know I am way better off sitting on the beautiful beach with earphones on so I don’t have to listen to more cursing, foot on top of another, writing whatever I feel like writing. I can even write negative comments on the Russian president and his lackeys, and no one would bother to lock me up. Because I live in a civilized land where a lot of things are also not perfect but at least the freedom of speech is taken seriously. And here’s the thing about speech, it can be brutal and it can be honest and then it can be Russian. When I read about the language Russian pop stars are using to condemn the members of Pussy Riot, it’s painful to read. I can’t even imagine having to hear it read out loud. What happened to the wonderful language of Pushkin and Lermontov, to hilarious voice of Gogol and my favorite comedians Raikin and Zhvanetsky? Why is every other word a curse word? When the government itself is full of ridiculous and spiteful men who are willing to equate Madonna to an ‘old b*’ in a public blog, then there’s not much you can ask from the ordinary folk. So there sit three young women who have written and defended themselves in letters that are both intelligent and open. They speak of not wanting to offend God, but to question the wisdom of his representatives on earth who use his name to promote a false God, a shorter, bolder and meaner looking one. Yet the ignorant men and women of the more ‘popular’ Russia are sitting in the homes praising their God and or Putin and using the foulest language towards those who do not agree.  These repeat offenders of the Russian language claim to do so because of their love for God, and again most like confusing God with Putin, they claim to want to defend him against those who want to tarnish his name. And although Putin might be soon in need of a very rigorous defense, God is doing just fine - He’s got the whole trinity on His side.

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GJ Editor's comment
05 June, 2015
Russia has its own weird but strongly formulated political logic, and wants the world to follow it. Fair enough, in principle, because
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