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September 9, 2003 by AK

Lighter Soviet stuff

“Soviet reporters manage to lie even when they are telling the truth.” A Soviet maxim.

With the benefit of hindsight, I realize now that Soviet foreign correspondents of the dull Brezhnev days seldom if ever resorted to outright lying. They preferred selective reporting instead. It’s not hard; some Western publications practice it now. Just make sure always to show the dark side of life in the “rotten West”. Washington is a convenient location: just make it a rule to show the homeless people on the marble steps of government buildings whenever you’re talking about “imperialistic hawks” from the banks of the Potomac. New York is better yet, although even a Soviet reporter would not have the guts to venture out into Harlem in the 1970s. Nonetheless, they managed to find some unemployed wretch from time to time and interview her in her supposedly miserable apartment. Yet some unpleasant detail would always make its way onto the screen: for instance, a welfare recipient with a colored TV set in his “tenement” ca. 1980 would make the more heedful Soviet watchers scratch their heads. My family was neither poor nor privileged, but by virtue of living in Moscow in our own (not communal) apartment, we should have been considered well-off; we bought our first colored TV in 1980 or so.


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