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Noose Tightens on Russia’s Only
Independent TV Channel

by Christopher A. Ferrara

In an earlier column (“Putin Complete’s Seizure of Opposition TV station”), I discussed the news that Vladimir Putin had completed a government seizure of Russia’s largest television company, ORT, following the arrest of its head, Boris Berezovsky. Now it seems the Moscow regime is turning its attention to finishing off NTV, the only national television station not directly controlled by the government.

On April 7, 2001, Associated Press reported that “journalists from Russia’s pioneering NTV held a rally under rainy skies Saturday and urged their supporters to help fend off a takeover by the state-run gas company Gazprom.” Gazprom is a major shareholder in NTV, and claims it is moving to seize the station only to enforce the collection of debts on loan guarantees.

The NTV journalists aren’t buying it. According to AP, they believe “the Gazprom takeover is being orchestrated by the Kremlin to muzzle its coverage of government corruption, human rights abuses, and the war in Chechnya.” The AP reports that “last week, Gazprom installed its loyalists on the NTV board and named a new director, financier Boris Jordan, to replace Kiselyov. NTV journalists call the move illegal and say they won't work for the new ownership, while Gazprom says the change is needed to protect its investment.” Ah, yes, it’s all just to protect Gazprom’s investment. And that would explain why Gazprom has refused to allow Vladimir Putin to refer this supposedly commercial dispute to Russia’s Supreme Court.

And what does Putin have to say about all this? Not a single word. Nothing suspicious there. I’m sure Putin is a great friend of the free press in Russia and will be speaking out very soon in defense of NTV’s right to criticize his government’s corruption and the war in Chechnya. And I am sure Putin had absolutely nothing to do with the Gazprom takeover and the installation of “ex-communists” on the NTV board. In fact, the Fatima revisionists tell us that Putin is a “Christian” and that his ascendancy is a “miracle” from Heaven.

Meanwhile, as AP notes, “Western governments have expressed concern over the fate of the network and media freedom.” But there will apparently be no expressions of concern from our friends, the Fatima revisionists, who tell us that Russia’s “conversion” has been underway for the past 17 years — no matter what our senses and our reason tell us. They have put up their flag and are not about to put it down.

Besides, didn’t Msgr. Bertone at the Vatican tell us last June 26 that “any further discussion or request [for the Consecration] is without basis”? Well, if the Monsignor says so, it must be true. After all, say the Fatima revisionists, every member of the Roman Curia “speaks for the Pope”. So, to disagree with Msgr. Bertone is to disagree with “the Holy Father”. And to disagree with “the Holy Father” is to disagree with “the Magisterium”.

The incredible expanding “Magisterium” has become a very useful tool in the hands of the useful idiots of the post-conciliar Church. This is a “Magisterium” even Vladimir Putin could love. As the sputtering lamp of the free seems about to wink out in Russia, however, this columnist will continue to base his judgments about the state of Russia on that much-neglected source of evidence commonly known as reality.