March of Truth on 13 April 2014 in Moscow. reports

posted 20 Apr 2014, 13:08 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 20 Apr 2014, 13:25 ]
14 April 2014

Vera Vasilieva

On Sunday, 13 April 2013, in Moscow on Sakharov Prospekt, a rally ‘March of Truth’ was held with the slogans ‘For honest and independent media’, ‘Against falsehood on TV screens’, ‘For an open society, against xenophobia’.

Those taking part included members of the Solidarity movement, and the political parties RPR-PARNAS, the Progress Party, Party of 5 December, civil society activists, actors, journalists and members of the public. The organizers decided not to have speeches by politicians from the stage, giving preference to cultural figures and civil society activists.

Initially it had been planned that there would be a march along the Moscow Boulevards and would end with a rally. But the Moscow authorities did not permit a demonstration. For this reason the event was limited to speeches from the stage.

The rally was to start at 16:00, and people began to gather from 15:00. Many had home-made humorous placards with the words of protest, and also making fun of the propagandists on government television. For example, ‘Money in our world has no smell! And for their sake the "blasphemer" Arkasha Mamontov and the "ash" Dmitry Kiselev are ready for anything’ (as is well-known, TV presenter Dmitry Kiselev on 16 March had promised to turn the USA into ‘radioactive ash’). Or: ‘I’m dying from thirst without Rain’ (in support of the TV channel Dozhd – meaning ‘rain’ in Russian – that the major cable and satellite operators have refused to transmit).

In addition, by the metal detectors at the entrance people were keenly sorting through and putting on badges expressing support for the ‘Prisoners of 6 May’, and also for the unjustly convicted Yukos employee, Aleksei Pichugin, with the words: ‘Life imprisonment for a life without lies’. At the same place one could pick up a copy of the book by yours truly ( correspondent), Aleksei Pichugin – Roads and Crossroads (a biographical sketch).

The masters of ceremonies were the actor Oksana Mysina and Aleksandr Ryklin, chief editor of Ezhednevnyi zhurnal that, in the opinion of experts, has been unlawfully blocked by the Russian Media and Communications Agency.

Among the many who addressed the rally from the stage were the writers Dmitry Bykov and Liudmila Ulitskaya, the actors Aleksandr Filippenko, Aleksei Devotchenko and Liya Akhdezhakova, the singer Aleksei Kortnev, the journalists Igor Yakovenko, Vladimir Kara-Murza Jnr, Vladimir Korsunsky, Zoya Svetova, the blogger Anton Nosik, and the professor of history Andrei Zubov.

The speakers pointed out that it had been a long time since they had heard such aggressive, anti-American, anti-Western propaganda as is currently being broadcast by government TV channels. The rally organizers named the people taking part in this campaign and made fun of them, giving them the 'Poison Tongue' award. Internet users had earlier voted to select the prize winners, and at the rally the envelopes with the results were opened.

The winner in the domination for ‘Straight in Your Face’ (‘for completely turning off their consciousness and conscience while pronouncing lies’) was Channel One presenter Ekaterina Andreeva. In the nomination 'Never a Blush' (‘for impenetrable shamelessness’) the winner was Vladimir Soloviev. Two awards – ‘We’re sick of everything’ (‘for the highest achievements in the art of lying’) and ‘Lying as he breathes’ (for the inability to say anything that is not a lie’) – were given simultaneously to Dmitry Kiselev. In the nomination ‘Make Believe Factory’ (for labour services in mass production of lies’) was given to Oleg Dobrodeev and the Russian TV Channel. Finally in the nomination ‘Foaming at the mouth’ (‘For inspired hysterical lying’) the winter was political scientist Sergei Kurginyan. Finally, the winner of the prize ‘Golden Diarrhoea’ (‘for the wildest and most senseless lie’) went to member of the upper house of the Russian parliament Valentina Matvienko.

To see the photos by Vera Vasilieva online, click HERE

The diplomas given out with the awards stated that the winners ‘should as a matter of necessity be employed in the personnel departments of all the factories of lies in the Russian Federation’.

The name of each winner was welcomed as it was announced by the protestors with laughter and shouts of ‘Shame!’ No one turned up to accept their award, but Oksana Mysina promised that they would be passed on to the winners.

Igor Yakovenko spoke about the official government propaganda and ‘Putin’s television forces.’ As the former secretary of the Union of Journalists of Russia said, ‘it is very important that we are not only shaming them, but that we are also laughing at them. Because laughter is the means by which people part from those they not longer want to see.’ 

Photos by Vera Vasilieva,

Marietta Chudakova, literary historian, critic, and public figure expressed concern about the state of education in Russia’s schools. In her view, the state does not wish to see citizens who can think for themselves: ‘In all subjects the task is seems as lowering the level of education so that there will be enough people to keep the oil and gas pipes running.’

‘What’s happening in our schools now is beyond description. The authorities have given the schools the task of keeping the level of school children below a certain level. We have always been a country of talented teenagers. What is happening today? Nobody supports those who have shown themselves to be above the average. I shall just give you one figure that I have read. Talented teenagers now make up 2% of the school population. In Singapore the figure percentage is 50%,’ Marietta Chudakova said.

People are being educated in the spirit of jingoism, whereas real patriotism is pain and shame, she added. Marietta Chudakova proposed the creation of a ‘national parents’ committee’ to remedy the current situation.

University teacher Andrei Zubov, whom the management of MGIMO recently tried to fire for his position on the issue of the annexation of Crimea, said that the political leaders are leading our society to the precipice. ‘If you see that war is called peace, that occupiers are called peaceful citizens, you know that you are being led to the precipice. The path of lies is always a path to the precipice. The truth is the basis of everything on which the world and the individual stands,’ the ‘disgraced’ professor said.

‘Politicians, journalists, diplomats are carrying out crimes against their own country, against us. They are destroying themselves and us, and it is incredibly painful for me to watch this happening,’ he confessed.

Theatre director Vladimir Kharchenko-Kulikovsky and dramatist Maksim Kurochkin, both citizens of Ukraine, said from the stage that they are full of grief for what is now happening in Ukraine. The speech by Maksim Kurochkin, who has lived for many years in Moscow, was especially emotional and moving. He said that today the blood of Ukrainians was being spilled and among those who bear responsibility for this are those who contribute to the production of Russian television propaganda. He said that he no longer wishes to be called a ‘Russian dramatist’.

The journalist Vera Kichanova said: ‘Quite recently I saw how they attacked Dozhd. Their aim was one thing: to keep their monopoly on information. We stand on the threshold of a crisis and we cannot carry on an open discussion. Kiselev says that, for a journalist, love of the homeland has to be in first place. And not love of the truth. He talks this nonsense on government TV channels – and all at our expense. If we had sufficient free media, I doubt that Mr Kiselev would find many supporters.’

Chief editor of the newspaper Regional news – Moscow region Vyacheslav Egorov in turn reminded the rally that the local authorities are persecuting independently-minded journalists.

From the stage many poems were also heard, for example by Aleksandr Galich and Vasily Stus, as well as songs.

The rally ended without incident.