Saturday, January 23, 2010

Web Politics or Web Satire?

Today a what looks like a political web prank is making waves in Chechnya and in Russia. It purports to promote the candidacy of Chechnya's current president, Ramzan Kadyrov, to the presidency of the Russian Federation in 2012.

To get the full impact of the original site, here,  you need to understand Russian, so you'll have to trust me when I say that it's classic political satire, very well executed, and more dangerous than physical attacks: it makes people think.

All writers know the power of the word. Even more so, the power of the insidious innuendo, the well-written (or well-said) comment that doesn't really hit you until later. The one that stays with you, makes you examine every aspect of the form and the content, and what's more, makes you come back to look at it again.

This is what the authors of the "Ramzan Kadyrov for President of the Russian Federation" site did. There is no overt criticism of Kadyrov, quite the contrary. The site appears to be laudatory and supportive, but...

It's not what is said, or how it's said, it's the context that counts. You have to think about Kadyrov's achievements such as they're praised in the web pages. Indeed, with everything the president of Chechnya has done in Russia's favor, according to this site, he surely would be a good candidate.

Kadyrov didn't find it amusing at all.

I thought it was a fine example of a well-executed political satire, classical in its delivery, worthy of any of its illustrious predecessors.

As a literary sample, of course.

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