Monday, December 23, 2013
Two members of a Russian punk rock band were released from prison over the weekend just after a former oil tycoon was let go. The band members called their freedom a PR stunt before the Winter Olympics to make Russia's human rights record look better. There would be one correction in that. It would be a publicity stunt and not PR, which is based on what one does rather than what one says. The world is watching Vladimir Putin and is not easily swayed by the recent news. Putin has time and again portrayed himself as a Russian strong man, a political czar who brooks no opposition to what he wants done. He is not democratic nor is he comfortable with citizens criticizing him. One could argue that Russians need that, that they were not ready for the dissolution of the Soviet empire, and freedom has been difficult in a country riddled with corruption, self-dealing and drunkenness. Perhaps so, but oligarchic rule is dangerous to the rest of the world. It is better that Russia is weak militarily and shrunken from its previous size. Maybe that will give it time to understand what real PR is.