Part of their Repertory

Victor Shenderovich. Source: Radio SvobodaIn this column for Yezhednevny Zhurnal, noted satirist Viktor Shenderovich discusses an ironic but all too representative instance of corruption within the Russian government, and issues a warning to politicians who think their impunity will last forever.

Part of their Repertory
By Viktor Shenderovich
July 19, 2012
Yezhednevny Zhurnal

The St. Petersburg City Cultural Committee designated budget subsidies for non-state theaters. Out of 15.6 million rubles, 15 million went to one theater – the Andrei Mironov Russian Enterprise Theater. The theater’s artistic director, Rudolf Furmanov, is both a distant relative of Cultural Committee head Dmitri Meskhiev, and a confidant of Vladimir Putin.

This isn’t even corruption. Corruption tries to avoid sticking out and hides from the law. But this – this is a typical demonstration of lawlessness, an insistent announcement of the new rules of the game…

Yes, this is how it’s going to be – there you go! Yes, all of the allocated budget money is going to the relative of a boyar and the confidant of a khan. Yes, we wanted to spit on what you think and say. Yes, yes, and yes once again! And no matter how much you bash your head against the wall, we’re still going to have it our way.

And they will, naturally. Until one day (hello Hegel) when quantity turns into quality, the system screws up, and the khan and boyars, emboldened by their impunity, choke on their own shit and blood (check your history textbooks, virtually any chapter).

But until then everything is going to be so cool and controlled that it’s not even going to occur to anyone sawing up the budget to disguise themselves.

P.S. Under closer inspection, this dull corruption story turns out to have a paradoxical side note: the theater intends to spend a large portion of the money it’s received on a production of Evgeny Shvarts’s version of The Emperor’s New Clothes.

This should be particularly instructive in the production of dear Vladimir Vladimirovich’s confidant:

“You’re naked, you old fool! Do you understand? Naked, naked, naked! Look at the people! Look at the people! They’re lost in thought. Lost in thought, you poor buffoon! Our traditions are shaking! Smoke is billowing above the state! (the king cries out.) Shut up!…”

And the rest is in the script.

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