The Missing Value
About a month ago, I wrote an article for Russiangate related to the career rise of the freshly dismissed Pskov Governor Andrei Turchak; he became acting secretary of the General Council of United Russia just then. All possible clauses were sounded: there is no trial, and it seems that there will never be, but assumption of innocence, on the contrary, is there, and there is also a version about Turchak's involvement in the attack on journalist Oleg Kashin, which, if expressed very gently, looks very sound. And it's somehow weird: Dmitry Medvedev, who after the assassination attempt on Kashin took the case “under personal control” and promised to “tear the perpetrators heads off,” appoints a man with background as strong as armature to a prominent post in the party, which he nominally leads.
The text was called “Speech at the Grave of Reputation” and one could definitely notice pathos running through it like a golden thread: “Well, because if the story of Turchak increasing the support of the population is not a gratuitous slap in the population’s face, then what should the slap look like?” My pathos was superfluous, that was not a slap yet. Because a month later Andrei Turchak became deputy head of the Federation Council. First, he was appointed a senator, and then in a hurry, a new post was created specially for him. Earlier, Valentina Matvienko had five deputies, and now six.
One senator (it was Nikolai Ryzhkov) ventured to ask, what exactly the sixth deputy will do. Matvienko did not reply. Another senator (it was Lyudmila Narusova) ventured to ask what Turchak thinks about Kashin's case and why nothing is heard of the results of Turchak's interrogation in this case. The newly-minted deputy chairman was boiling like a teapot, and began to talk lame mess: “You have erroneous information about the investigative actions that were carried out within this case. Therefore, I would suggest that you use the primary sources, rather than speculation, rumors and gossip, which some of our media sources publish.”
Later it turned out that the only voice against Turchak's appointment as vice-speaker of the Federation Council also belongs to Narusova. Only one of the members of the upper house of parliament thought about whether it was comfortable to be sitting next to Turchak. Overall, there are one 170 senators in the Russian Federation.
It would be possible – if we carry on with the slapping topic – to note that the next appointment of a young technocrat (by the way, he will also keep his high party post) is something like a gift with a subtle hint. In early November 2010, journalist Oleg Kashin was brutally beaten. In early November 2017, Secretary of the General Council of the United Russia Andrei Turchak became deputy head of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. The attack was committed on November 6, the appointment took place on the 8th, didn’t manage make it to a day because of the holidays: November 6 in 2017 was a day off because the Day of National Unity was celebrated on Saturday.
It would be possible, but there was no need, because no one actually meant to get the timing right. I doubt that many Russians know what the Federation Council does, but it has broad powers. The senators approve or disapprove of the laws passed by the Duma, appointed judges of the Constitutional Court and the Prosecutor General and his deputies; without senators, the president has no right to introduce a state of emergency or decide to use troops abroad. To be sure, the senators can even impeach the president, if the Duma puts forward serious charges against the first person.
But all this does not matter. Because the laws are made not in the Duma, and go ahead, take a risk, try to veto them. Because the judges of the Constitutional Court with joy and ease declare all the anti-constitutional laws consistent with the Constitution. Because an impeachment... Ugh, what are we even talking about here, what kind of impeach can there be?
A conversation about reputations in the state of fictitious institutions, missing values and empty places is superfluous, naive, childish and unnecessary. A young man from a good family is liked by the first person and that, in general, is sufficient, and maybe the only possible reason for a career rise. Who would listen to the rumors of the evil spirits, who would remember about the beaten one hundred or seven years ago – what's the difference – a journalist, who, after all, was not even killed. He should be thankful, not complaining.
And, of course, against the backdrop of all the meaningless holes filled with respectable people that were placed here instead of state institutions, we, by understandable shyness, try not to notice yet another hole, the largest one and filled with ordinary people, us. The hole, which Russia has instead of a proper society. We did not learn how to make them consider us, do not know how to defend our rights, while it could be done relatively bloodlessly, now we dry tears and put up with nonsense.
Moskovsky Komsomolets in an article about Turchak’s appointment quotes Anton Orlov, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Problems of Modern Politics. I do not know who that is, I just liked his idea. “The regime, in order not to seem decrepit, has to bring forward young, strong and hard-boiled politicians. The ones that have proven not only their loyalty and penchant for office creativity, but also the ability to work on the streets: with activists, masses, voters. Turchak demonstrated all this at different stages of his career.” Isn’t he hard-boiled? Of course, he is: his speeches are thick, a word weighs two hundred tons... The only problem is related to “the ability to work on the streets.” It has not been proven yet, it goes by the category of “gossip, which some of our media sources publish.” One’s got to be very careful here: the assumption of innocence is still there.