Myths about Russia
Show hosts: Dmitry Babich
There is nothing more vague and more promising in politics than the fight against corruption. Modern extravaganzas, such as Olympic Games or soccer World Cups, are not only great shows but also great irritants for concerned citizens who always believe they could find a better use for the money spent on such events. So, Russian president Vladimir Putin must have envisaged the future difficulties when, seven years ago, he proposed the candidacy of the Russian city of Sochi for the 2014 winter Olympics. The specific difficulty in Russia's case was that here the alarmist signals about the games’ costs and other problems came not so much from inside Russia but rather from abroad.
There is a joke about the science of economy: teach a parrot to say 20 times a day "supply and demand" – and you've got an economist. With Western specialists on Russian economy the teaching job is not much more difficult. If a person can clearly pronounce three adjectives, namely: Soviet-style, sluggish and overregulated – he is certainly eligible for a PhD on Russian economic development and can be quoted by hordes of journalists. The trick is not to learn anything else and, heaven forbid, not to say anything else.
For years, the global media has been spreading a rather black-and-white vision of Russia’s immensely varied ideological scene. There are supposed to be some bad guys, always associated with the Russian state and presented by the Western media as corrupt and dangerous. And there are supposed to be some good Russian guys – they are expected to be in raptures about the West with its "democracy" and other presumed virtues. These good Russian guys are also expected to hate the Russian state and especially its serving president – Vladimir Putin.