Same old projection and denial

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July 10, 2014 by AK

A half-sentence from Nabokov’s The Gift in my inelegant translation:

…his only published work was a letter to the editor of an Odessa newspaper in which he angrily repudiated any connection to an unsavory namesake, who turned out later to be his relative, then his double, and finally, himself – as if an inexorable law of droplet attraction and fusion had been at work there.

When Valery Seleznev, a Duma deputy from Zhirinovsky’s LDPR party, got news of his son’s arrest on US hacking charges, he first said it could not have been his son, who had “nothing to do with computer technologies.” Then he added that his son had “an education in humanities” and could not be a hacker for this reason. Finally, he slipped into the old, well-worn groove and accused America of kidnapping his son from the Maldives.

I’m not out to make fun of Valery Seleznev, who lost his right hand as a young man but rose to become a successful entrepreneur and manager – well before he was elected to the Duma in 2007. His son was injured in the 2011 Marrakech bombing so Seleznev’s concern over his health is not mere theatrics. For all his alleged wrongdoing, Roman V. Seleznev seems to have skills and talents not expected from the overprivileged children of Russia’s political elite, and did not have a cushy job with a state-controlled company.

But once you’re in a pack, you’re expected to howl like the other wolves. Join the LDPR, get into the Duma, vote for draconian laws, and the rest will follow: Seleznev père’s America-bashing mantras are mandatory for Duma deputies. To some degree, they are evidence of projection: it is Russia that kidnapped opposition organizer Leonid Razvozzhaev in Kyiv in 2013 and Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko in Donbass earlier this summer.


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