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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Defending the Defenseless

I will now attempt to compare the story of young Ivan with a few other incidents.

During a traffic jam in downtown St. Petersburg, a police car raced along the wrong side of the road. Pyotr Grigorovsky, who was driving his car in his own lane in the opposite direction, swerved his car to avoid the oncoming police vehicle, struck a pole and died. The police officer never even stopped. Hundreds of witnesses took note of the officer's license plate number. St. Petersburg drivers later demonstrated their condolences by placing black flags on their cars.

What is the probability that President Vladimir Putin will demand a full report of the investigation and that the police officer responsible for Grigorovsky's death will be punished? Zero.

The police department has already responded by saying that the vehicle in question never left the station's garage that day. Moreover, the police said they would later settle scores with the "black flag" demonstrators.

Another story: A Moscow driver and immigrant from Tajikistan, Ashur Inoyatov, picked up a drunk FSB officer who had just left a casino. When Inoyatov asked the officer where he wanted to go, the officer for some reason took offense, pulled out his gun and started shooting. He emptied his entire clip but was so intoxicated that he ended up only wounding Inoyatov.

What is the likelihood that Putin will demand a full investigation of this incident, and more importantly, that Muscovites will stage demonstrations in support of the unfortunate Tajik? Zero. On the contrary, Inoyatov was deported.

What has happened in Russia lately? A St. Petersburg police officer caused the wrongful death of an innocent driver and left the scene of the crime; an innocent Tajik was deported for having the bad luck of being the victim of a crime committed by an FSB officer; a Moscow court seized 100 percent of Russneft's shares after owner Mikhail Gutseriyev publicly stated that the government had been pressuring him; and Russia sent military forces into Ingushetia.

And what have we seen on the news? We have seen that Russian strategic bombers flew over NATO bases, that those nasty Georgians have again slandered us by claiming that a Russian jet fired a rocket on their territory, and that the persecution of Russians in the police state of France has reached such a scale that a 12-year-old Russian boy was forced to leap from his sixth-floor apartment.

Now let's perform a different experiment. How would it sound if we were to switch the Russian and French news reports around?

"A French police officer caused a fatal accident on the Champs Elysees and then fled the scene. After local drivers staged a protest, police arrested the organizers of the demonstration."

Is this possible? Of course not.

"In the republic of Bashkortostan a police squad attempted to enter the home of a family of Tajik nationals to check their residency registration. The father escaped through a window; his son attempted a similar escape but was seriously injured when he fell. Local residents waged a demonstration against police brutality. President Putin demanded a full investigation of the incident."

Possible? No way. Terrible? Yes.

Yulia Latynina hosts a political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio.