Aleksandr Podrabinek: Hypocrisy as State Policy

9 November 2021

By Aleksandr Podrabinek

Source: Vot-Tak.TV Belsat

On November 10, the Public Chamber is to consider the latest prohibitive measures proposed by Roskomnadzor. On October 25, at a meeting of the Public Council of this censorship department, participants in the discussion proposed to legally prohibit the owners of video services and social networks “from distributing materials promoting non-traditional sexual relations and sexual deviations.” The latter include exhibitionism, paedophilia, sadomasochism, fetishism, bestiality, incest, voyeurism, transvestism, and anything else considered a deviation from the norm.

Who decided what is normal? Good question! In our case, the deputies of the unlawfully elected State Duma and the similarly-elected president.

This news hardly surprised anyone. We expect things like this from the authorities every day. And nearly every day, except for weekends, there are new bans and restrictions. This is how power works. If the government had been elected, it would behave differently – with an eye on public opinion and the mood of voters. But since it was never elected, it acts accordingly.

When these people in power strip away freedom of speech, prohibit opposition parties and other civil society organisations which are disloyal to them, we see: they are afraid of political competitors, they tremble to preserve their illegitimate power.

When they persecute churches and communities, we see: they are afraid that the religious life of Russians will get out of the control of the Russian Orthodox Church affiliated with them, and an independent spiritual search will lead people to reject the authoritarian regime.

Even when they run after half-naked girls who are photographed in front of sacred relics, we see: they are afraid of the manifestation of even the most harmless personal freedom, especially if it can expose their power in an unsightly or ridiculous way.

But when they forbid adults to watch adult movies at home behind closed doors – what is that?


The simplest explanation: when a phenomenon ceases to excite, it begins to annoy. But that would be too easy. In addition, the practice of Soviet life shows that in a totalitarian society with a politicised and sanctimonious morality, party gerontocrats and their Komsomol assistants gladly consumed illicit content, which was prohibited from general distribution.

Here the point is different. On the one hand, the government, suffering from a deficit of legitimacy, is in dire need of having some values of its own. They don’t really care what they are – conservative, ecclesiastical, sovereign, sanctimonious, historical, even obscurantist-medieval. So long as they serve to cover up the theft and corruption so clearly visible to all. To overshadow their dirty deeds with lofty words. Moral ugliness needs beautiful clothing.

On the other hand, the moralising position automatically puts them in the position of guardians or life teachers, and elevates the supreme ruler to the rank of “father of the nation”, an indisputable authority and unerring ruler of destinies. A little more – and you’ll see a crown on his head and a scepter in his hand! Who then dares to at least give a hint of the need for a truly elective government and the requirements of the constitution, to calculate the costs of official residences, secret palaces and golden toilet brushes? And if there are such people, then they can be chided and punished in a fatherly way with polonium or novichok, explaining to everyone else that these are little unreasonable children rebelling against a parent, who knows what is good and what is bad.

Translated by James Lofthouse

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