In her interview with Le Monde the writer Liudmila Ulitskaya said that the Russian mass media are manipulating the Russians’ mass consciousness and have already beaten the world record in lying. In particular, the writer claims, TV channels broadcast footage from Syria and Venezuela under the guise of the events in Donetsk. The Russian intelligentsia cannot do anything as, according to her, freedom of speech in Russia is being oppressed.
The Russian writer Liudmila Ulitskaya gave an interview to the French newspaper Le Monde, in which she explained why in her book “Green Tent” she returned to the topic of Soviet dissidents. To her mind, the current government in Russia regards them “as demons.” The government is doing everything possible for the reinstatement of ideological principles, but is meanwhile discrediting the dissident movement.
According to Ulitskaya, the surname of academic Andrey Sakharov has been consciously erased from the history of the country, and Alexandr Solzhenitsin is only mentioned by the government exclusively for their personal interests. The writer reminds that the dissidents never wanted to come to power. After the fall of the Soviet Union they had fingers pointed at them in accusation of the failure of democratisation of the state. Ulitskaya considers this to be the result of propaganda.
In the interview, the Russian writer also mentioned the topic of Ukraine. She reminds how on March 15th in Moscow, tens of thousands of people came out for a protest against the war in Ukraine. Their banners said: “Ukraine, forgive us!” However, regardless of this protest, Crimea was annexed. Ulitskaya admits that the “illegal occupation of the peninsula” made population happy. Millions of Russians celebrated this return. And this way the anti-war protest of the intelligentsia failed, the writer thinks.
The Russian government refuses to examine the intelligentsia’s demands to stop the intervention in Ukraine’s political life, said Ulitskaya in her interview. While the majority of the population is celebrating the accession of Crimea and hopes that a similar fate awaits the east of Ukraine; a small group of opposition activists which counter the official line are being condemned as “national traitors.” “Don’t throw stones at us, we are few, but we do exist,” warns the writer.
Ulitskaya thinks that it is difficult to evaluate what is happening between Russia and Ukraine at the moment. To her mind, the Russian mass media are distorting the Ukrainian events and “have already beaten the world record in lying.” This, it has recently been discovered that the footage of the wounded child and woman lying in a pool of blood, presented by several TV channels as evidence of the barbarity of the Ukrainian soldiers in Donetsk, was made in Syria and Venezuela, claims the writer. To her mind, this footage was shown specifically to spark hatred between Russians and Ukrainians.
“At the moment we are witnesses to an unprecedented manipulation of collective consciousness. The responsibility of the journalists has never been as high as it is now, especially those who is trying to maintain objectivity, regardless of the pressure on part of the government. Some information websites have been closed, the bloggers are being controlled, freedom of speech is being suffocated like never before in the last 20 years,” said Ulitskaya in her interview.
According to her, much time will be needed for the relations between Russia and Ukraine to stabilise. The responsibility for the worsening of the relations between the two countries lies on Russia, thinks the writer.
Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina