October 3, 2020

"I ask you to blame the Russian Federation for my death."

Wrote Irina Slavina on Facebook, quoted in "Russian editor dies after setting herself on fire" (BBC).
Irina Slavina was editor-in-chief of the small Koza Press news website. Its motto is "news and analytics" and "no censorship". Its website went down on Friday, as news of her death was confirmed. She was one of seven people in Nizhny Novgorod whose homes were searched on Thursday, apparently as part of an inquiry into [the pro-democracy group] Open Russia. Last year, she was fined for "disrespecting authorities" in one of her articles.... In a Facebook post on Thursday, she said 12 people had forced their way into her family's flat and seized flash drives, her laptop and her daughter's laptop as well as phones belonging to both her and her husband....

The investigative committee insisted that Slavina was only a witness in their case - "and neither a suspect, nor accused, in the investigation of the criminal case", a spokesperson told Ria Novosti. That criminal case appears to focus on a local businessman who allowed various opposition groups to use his spoof church for forums and other activities including training election monitors. Mikhail Iosilevich created the so-called Flying Spaghetti Monster church in 2016 whose followers were dubbed Pastafarians....
Here's the Wikipedia article "Flying Spaghetti Monster." There's no mention of Iosilevich, and activities go back to before 2016. It wasn't invented in Russia, but presumably people all over the world take up Pastafarianism as they see fit. In the U.S., it seems to be a way to make fun of serious religion, to make atheism less grim, and to litigate about freedom-of-religion issues. Try to imagine how it would be used in Russia, where the landscape of freedom is completely different.

Irina Slavina was 47 years old, according to Wikipedia, which gives some insight into the seriousness of humor:
In August 2019, a memorial plaque in memory of Joseph Stalin was installed in Shakhunya - to the 140th anniversary of his birth. Slavina, in her post on Facebook, suggested renaming Shakhunya, changing the last few letters in the name of the settlement, so that the result was an obscene word. In October 2019, the "E" center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia opened an administrative case of disrespect for the authorities and society (part 3 of Article 20.1 of the Administrative Code) against Slavina (Murakhtaeva), editor-in-chief of the KozaPress online publication.​... 

28 comments:

rehajm said...

Try to imagine how it would be used in Russia, where the landscape of freedom is completely different.

...but coming soon to a jurisdiction near you!

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

"Try to imagine how it would be used in Russia, where the landscape of freedom is completely different."

Yes. In Russia, the Government does not allow citizens and press to criticize or question the Government. In the U.S., the citizens and media do not allow criticism from the Government.

DrSquid said...

Sorry. We've got our own problems right now.

traditionalguy said...

Very interesting. But what about the First Amendment.

tim maguire said...

There are very likely mental health issues in play here. The harassment described doesn’t seem so bad and her attempt to weaponize her suicide does not speak well of her emotional stability.

On the FSM church, the passage could just be confusingly written and meant only to say that Iosilevich created that particular church, and not the entire “religion.”

Howard said...

Self immolation is a serious statement.

Floris said...

What would happen in the U.S. if a business owner tried to mock the BLM movement?

MadisonMan said...

I wonder how many people in America visualize something like that happening here if the other guy wins the election in November.

Darrell said...

Russia is doing well now, btw. A cross between 1950s and 1980s America with modern technology. Nice malls are a big thing now. I've spent hundreds of hours watching livestreams from St Petersburg, Moscow, and a dozen other cities on YouTube, so I think I'm getting a clear picture. The change from Soviet days is a modern miracle. It's hard to fake anything on a 4-9 hour livestream when the camera is always going. I'd live there if they switched to English.

Lucien said...

I think the point of the Pastafarians is that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is no more silly than any other deity; and yet is considerably less of a bloodthirsty psychopath. (Not that I mean to tar Pan or Loki with that brush.)

mockturtle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tim in vermont said...

In a Facebook post on Thursday, she said 12 people had forced their way into her family's flat and seized flash drives, her laptop and her daughter's laptop as well as phones belonging to both her and her husband....

Sounds a lot more like Robert Mueller than Donald Trump if you are looking for comparisons of authoritarian, or for that matter, it sounds like the “John Doe” persecutors who went after Scott Walker.

Liberals shouldn’t be letting these guys think for them. These prosecutors and FBI agents are not “liberals” abusing the law in US politics for “liberal" ends, they are leftists, and there’s a difference.

Fernandinande said...

Iosilevich created that particular church, and not the entire “religion.”

Yup - he had a building.

AllenS said...

If it wasn't for that commie thing, I'd bet that Russian would be a good friend. Why wouldn't they?

Oso Negro said...

I can say that I personally feel more freedom in Eastern Europe than I do in the United States. Of course, I am not trying to organize opposition to their government. But I don't have to pretend that there are 57 genders, that feminism is valuable, that Black Lives Matter, that austere measures are need to save the planet, or that it is indecent for older men and younger women to have relations.

JML said...

Howard said...
Self immolation is a serious statement.

And it isn't funny.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

I see parallels between Putin's Russia and US democratics/antifa.

destroy the opposition at any cost.

Darrell said...

The Russians don't talk about Communism. In fact many sound like American conservatives. All the Lefty talk comes from commenters, probably 13-year-olds. The Russians tell them they don't know what they're talking about.

Mike Sylwester said...

Are we supposed to have an opinion about this?

Blair said...

People fail to understand that there is no such thing as genuine liberalism in Russia. They never went through the Western enlightenment. Their mentality is entirely medieval and Byzantine.

The Pastafarian thing should be viewed in this light. It represents a rebellion against the Orthodox Church. It's not about muh democracy. It's a regression to Soviet atheism.

People can moan about Putin's authoritarianism all they want, but at the end of the day, it's a straight medieval battle of values, and I'm on Putin's side if it comes to that.

Darrell said...

Putin's opponents are not above acting like Chicago Aldermen when they are behind in the polls and breaking their own campaign office windows. Be wary of people that are attacked and live, like that latest poisoning victim.

Narr said...

Russia has always been a place of religious repression, and the Orthodox church is nothing more than another organ of the State. Always has been and always will be . . . only the officially-approved ideologies ever change, never the actual power dynamic.

The post has brought out some unfamiliar (to me) pro-obscurantist and repression commenters.

Narr
Moscow does not believe in rights

bagoh20 said...

Such a foolish waste.

Her suicide will never accomplish what she could have for her country and her family alive. People may notice your public suicide, but in the end they assume you were not thinking clearly, and that diminishes your impact far below what you imagine. More importantly, you can no longer fight for your side. You are now a dead solder, and no longer have any value in the fight.

rcocean said...

And who cares? No one cares about Free Speech in the USA or Europe, why should I care about Free Speech in Russia. Did this liberal journalist REALLY care about free speech, or was she the typical liberal/leftist who only cares about Free Speech when they aren't the ones with the power to censor?

The Left, starting with the Bolsheviks, has played this game of being advocates for free speech when they are powerless, and being censors when they get power. why should i believe this journalist was any different?

rcocean said...

And our MSM plays this game of being very, very, concerned about Democracy in Russian and very, very UNCONCERNED about Democracy in China. Why is that? And why should i care about Russia and not China? China is ethnically cleansing people. China is a COMMUNIST dictatorship. Russia is not. But all we get from the MSM is Russia and Putin. Over and over and over again. I don't share their obsessions.

Yancey Ward said...

I hope Jim Acosta was taking notes.

Yancey Ward said...

No one sets themselves on fire without serious mental problems being the cause.

Yancey Ward said...

Russia has no cultural history of non-despotism, and this may be true 200 years from now. Same with the Chinese, and, indeed, most of the non-European world. I am happy enough with a Russia without great expansionist ambitions.