No Recession in Russia, Thanks to the Kremlin: Words Like "Crisis" and "Decline" Are Banned on TV
Subjected to more than a century of propaganda masquerading as news, Russians often seem to live in a different reality from the rest of us. At a time when their country is locked in its worst financial crisis in a decade, Russians are more optimistic about the economy than they have ever been. According to opinion polls, 57% reckon it is flourishing, up from 53% in July.
The survey's findings are a triumph for the state, proving that the Kremlin has not lost its touch when it comes to manipulating fact. Obeying orders from the top, Russian television has banned the use of words such as "crisis," "decline" and "devaluation." Coverage of the mayhem in the country's stock market, where shares have fallen by 75% since August (see chart above), is scant.
Instead, just as in Soviet times, Russians are told how bad everything is in the West. The US, Russians are told, is in irreversible decline, while desperate Britons are throwing themselves into the Thames. The Queen, facing imminent penury, has been forced to pawn her diamonds and, according to one tabloid front page, Brits can no longer afford to bury their dead.
It has fallen to Russia, one television commentator gravely intoned, to come to the rescue of Europe. Russia, another newspaper declared, was set to become the continent's lender of last resort. As Russians are frequently reminded, this supposed stability is almost entirely thanks to the wisdom and leadership of Vladimir Putin. Yet if the state has been successful in projecting an image of calm confidence, there is growing evidence of panic behind the scenes.
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HT: Greg Allar