A Story of the Stolen Time

Ivan Davydov tells about time wasted on stories without a right final.
03.10.2017
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A short film about the property of TV host Vladimir Solovyov, released by Alexei Navalny, will be a household word for another couple of days. The host has three apartments in an elite house in the center of Moscow (the first was practically given to him by the City Hall, or, to be more precise, was sold to him after all, but six times cheaper the market price – it's an old, well-known story). Creepy, but a large four-story house in Peredelkino and an excellent summer residence on Lake Como, in Italy (also not some sensation, but it seems Navalny has shown the dacha itself and the documents for it for the first time). Social networks hamper anger with irony, Solovyov comes up with lame excuses, but in a lordly, haughty manner, as befits the owner of an excellent dacha in Italy: "I'm a rich man, someone did not know about this? I have not seen this text, but I do not really understand why the fact that I do not hide is held against me? I was engaged in business in the 90-s and I am a rich man." However, "business in the 90-s," experts say, is the provision of non-existent services to Sberbank, where, by a lucky coincidence, the TV host’s son-in-law holds a good position.

And for at least two days we will talk about these houses, banter, we will be indignant and, well, we will be jealous, of course, as was the will of comrade Stalin.

For half a year already, those who at least occasionally follow the news (that is, in our era of universal literacy and social networks pretty much everyone) know at least something about the film Matilda by Alexey Uchitel. Even if they are not interested in Alexey Uchitel’s work, Russian cinema as such, or even the sex life of the last Romanov dynasty emperor – they still know about it. Moreover, they also know about the irreconcilable struggle for the honor of the tsar lead by State Duma deputy Natalya Poklonskaya. Poklonskaya is persistent, or even stubborn, she fights to the bitter end, writes inquiries to the prosecutor's office, does tons of interviews, composes a dozen Facebook posts per day and she even managed to tell the TV channel Zvezda owned by the Ministry of Defense about conversations with the late Tsar in the church silence. We all are a bit tired, but it’s still funny. Even if one does not forget that, in part because of Poklonskaya’s preaching a cinema in Yekaterinburg burned, as well as a car of a man who has nothing to do with the film at all (in Moscow this time), it's still ridiculous.

And this, of course, is interesting news. But each one lacks a small line. In the story about Solovyov, a series of leaks from the Investigative Committee in the media which specialize in publication of such leaks would look good. "The TV host is summoned for interrogation" ... "Detained" ... "Charged" ... "Cooperates with the investigation" ... "Willingly rats out accomplices" (there is no reason to doubt that this particular detainee would be especially willing to hand over his accomplices)... And tit-for-tat right down to Media Zone’s corporate tweet-report from the courtroom. And then, only some news from Olga Romanova from Russ Sidyaschaya (Russia Behind Bars – a charity fund project for assistance to convicted and their families – Ed.) about which magazines the former star should subscribe to and what Vladimir Rudolfovich lacks for happiness in the places in which are much colder than Lake Como.

It’s a bit more complicated with Poklonskaya. With her, the situation will be more intricate, not for the newspapers, probably. However, on the other hand, a strong, compassionate and moderate official message about the fact that the best doctors work with the former deputy, that in her cozy and modern cell all the walls are covered with the newest soft wallpaper, that within her reach there are no sharp objects with which the former deputy might have injured herself, and that Natalya Vladimirovna talks to the deceased sovereign less and less. And that she almost ceased to worry about it.

But we know perfectly that there will not be such news. We know that all these stories obviously have no finale. They lack a proper finale, which would restore normalcy around, just as the fictitious doctors from the previous paragraph would do for Poklonskaya. The same can be said about any resonant news of recent years. The last five years. Or the last seventeen.

What this means is the time spent by those honest ‘investigators’, who search for information, the time spent by the lazy publicists and bloggers, who create the news, which are these days are commonly referred to as "hype", the time that the readers spent on reading and discussing this news is wasted. It is stolen by those who created a situation in which revealing abnormality in the country does not have a normal ending. Good job for revealing whatever there is this time: we’ll just chit-chat about it and forget it. And Solovyov will happily get out to his audience, present his viewers his endless program Sunday Evening, and tell them about the complexes of the envious trouble-maker Navalny, about the successes in Syria and about the troubles of Ukraine. And even, perhaps, will deliver some news from the theater of operations, where Natalia Poklonskaya fights Matilda Kshesinskaya. From, let's say, Mariinsky Theater of Operations.

Indeed, it's frightening to even think how much time was stolen from us, by discussing the news from Ukrainian for several years. How much this is in man-hours and how much this is in lives. It's a lot.

Time is not an infinite resource, and this is, perhaps, the main tragedy of human existence. Even bloggers and publicists, no matter how pointless is the existence of this kind of people, could have spent their time more profitably if the news chains about Solovyov and Poklonskaya, and about thousands of other similar ones, would end as they should end. Let alone the investigators and writers.

And all this stolen time, all these unfinished useful deeds – in the family, at work, in the country, all these irreplaceable losses – they are connected only and exclusively with the absence of a summons to an investigator or a timely call to doctors. Well, not couple of summons, of course, there should be thousands of them, but that's just the details.

The only important thing is rock-solid knowledge that resonant news at home cannot have a normal ending.

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