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RICHARD BOUDREAUX’S euphemistic coverage yesterday, in the Wall Street Journal, of an “anti-Putin band” underscores the respective limits of polite discourse both here and in the former Soviet state. In Putin’s Russia, which is increasingly also the Mother Russia of the Orthodox Church, the cost of transgressing polite discourse’s state invigilated boundaries mounts.
WHEN IN THE final days of his anti-climactic election campaign Vladimir Putin sought the blessing of the Theotokos of Tikhvin, he confirmed symbolically an attachment both to the Russian Orthodox Church and the czarist tradition. Add to the pious optics of this gesture the state dominated, and eastern Europe dominating, megacorporation Gazprom as well as the country’s informal ‘silovik’ network of former security operatives—embedded into the country’s banking, commercial, media, and energy sectors—and one would have in a single photo-op a complete representation of the current Russian state.