“One day the bubble will burst.” Andrei Makarevich on Navalny’s film and Russians’ apathy
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20 January 2021

Andrei Makarevich in an interview with TV Rain

Source: Moscow Helsinki Group [original source: Дождь]

The Putin’s Palace investigation by Aleksei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation [the FBK] garnered more than 25 million views in its first day. FBK investigators spoke about the palace on the Black Sea coast, which allegedly belongs to Vladimir Putin. Its cost has been estimated at 100 billion roubles. According to the Foundation, its construction was sponsored by a special offshore fund, to which money is “donated” by businessmen close to the president. “Rain” discussed the reaction of Russians to the investigation and the film itself with Andrei Makarevich of the rock band Time Machine, a winner of the Moscow Helsinki group prize.

What are your strongest feelings about these events, which somehow began to develop very rapidly, and seem to have escalated in the last few days?

You might say they produce difficult feelings from two opposing directions. Firstly, in my opinion the degree of lawlessness we’ve reached, that people don’t even talk about any more, is wild-frontier stuff, and even a bit glamorous.

And secondly, the most offensive thing – I could be wrong, and God grant I am – but Navalny is a fearless person, he makes these films, makes them well, and they cause something of a shock for the very small part of the population which actually watches and discusses them.

In some other people this essentially provokes indifference, and a substantial chunk of the population knows nothing about it, because, generally speaking, it doesn’t run counter to their basic assumptions. A tsar! A tsar should live in a palace, and what of it? Is it the first time? He lives in palaces his whole life. One palace more or less doesn’t signify. And Navalny, of course is an agent of every intelligence agency you can think of, including the Japanese – otherwise, how has he survived? And in general we are surrounded by enemies, and our Tsar is a good man.

In my opinion this is the fundamental thinking today.

But do you think that the majority of Russian society views what is happening in this way? Or is this just some idea transmitted to us through state channels, while in actual fact society understands that the emperor has no clothes? Now, I’m not talking about the emperor, but about the fact that it’s impossible to be simultaneously an agent of both the Japanese and the Germans, or any other intelligence service.

Well, you know, Tikhon, if you bash some huge lie into your head with a big hammer every day, it goes in. We’ve seen this many times in our history, and now it’s happening again. And Zyuganov and Zhirinovsky’s squealing? It’s like 1937!

Look, this film has been released, and we’ve already been talking about it on the Rain TV channel for two days, and you just mentioned it here. I can see Putin’s Palace has had 28 million views; 28 million and 210 thousand, in fact. That’s an awful lot. Don’t you think this is an indicator that society will react differently and that this will be a fresh page along with everything we’ve learned in the past months, when we learned, for example, that the state apparatus is poisoning its citizens?

This bubble will probably burst one day, because we are dealing with an accumulation of factors. But I’m afraid that it won’t be today, or tomorrow. There’s nothing I can do with my feelings. I’ll say once again, I’ll be very glad if I’m wrong.

According to the decision of the Russian Ministry of Justice, the FBK has been included in the register of NGOs performing the functions of a foreign agent.

Translated by Anna Bowles

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