Friday, February 05, 2010

Book Review: "The Black PR Practitioners Of The White Bear"

"The [Saratov] United Russia party machine uses a noxious slurry of dirty tricks, illegal activities, and domination of the media to discredit and destroy any politician, businessperson, or anyone else deemed an enemy of the Saratov Oblast United Russia party boss and Duma deputy speaker Vyacheslav Volodin."---"The Way The Game Is Played" (RFE/RL, 2-5-10)

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. The BBC (3-6-09) reports that Mikhail Gorbachev characterizes Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia party as "the worst version of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union."

Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty (2-5-10) has posted an interesting article about a book titled The Black PR Practitioners Of The White Bear that will be published soon in Moscow.

A pair of brave political consultants in Saratov has written a book describing how the local United Russia party machine uses a noxious slurry of dirty tricks, illegal activities, and domination of the media to discredit and destroy any politician, businessperson, or anyone else deemed an enemy of the Saratov Oblast United Russia party boss and Duma deputy speaker Vyacheslav Volodin (who just celebrated his 45th birthday on February 4!).

The book, “The Black PR Practitioners Of The White Bear,” will be published in Moscow soon. As coauthor Sergei Pochechuyev told RFE/RL’s Russian Service, “This is yet another warning about how we cannot have any illusions that power and politics can be moral unless we change the system entirely. Because the politics we show are amoral politics, the politics of moral cripples.”

Pochechuyev and fellow author Igor Osovin are former Saratov political consultants who were directly involved in the dirty politics that they describe in the book and who are now asking forgiveness of those whom they harmed.

Pochechuyev’s description of the way things are done in Russia deserves quoting at length:

At first when a person is identified as a personal enemy of Volodin they initiate a series of negative articles in the mass media. Next those representatives of the public who only imitate the feverish activity of building civil society are activated. These pseudo-activists create paid-for articles in the media that create the necessary public outcry. Or their activities become the excuse for new paid-for articles and television reports. When the number of publications reaches a critical mass, local deputies begin flooding the state organs of the Russian Federation with official inquiries and letters from residents of Saratov Oblast demanding decisive action be taken against the target of Volodin’s attacks, although they produce no real facts that the person has violated the law, because there are no such facts. They merely cite the numerous publications in the media. As a result, authorities higher up in the government form a false image of the real situation in Saratov Oblast. People who are undesirable to Volodin and his entourage and clan are seen in a negative light, which has negative consequences for the political climate inside the region and for the level of decision making here. In short, using such political tactics is a form of disinformation targeting the highest levels of government, which should be considered a premeditated, conspiratorial crime. [See the full text.]

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