Sunday, June 27, 2004

Just when do you become a tyrant?

Kremlin Looking for Loyal NGOs

It is reported that the Russian government is trying to build up a base of friendly NGOs as a counterweight to the numerous campaign groups that are about the only effective opposition left in Russia. First question - is an NGO created to be nice to the Kremlin "nongovernmental" in any way? Given the way in which fake democracy seems to be the up-and-coming form of state, should we perhaps invent a new term to describe a fake NGO? Quango, of course, stands for quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation, but it's not quite the same thing. A quango usually has some sort of administrative or scrutiny function, and the term is specifically British. OSIOG, perhaps - Organisation Supposedly Independent of Government? What about False Undertaking Created by King's Organisations For Fronts? Or FRont Organisation Not to be Trusted?

It's all very Soviet, harking back to the days of fraternal delegations and world congresses for this, that and the other, usually with one KGB-funded and one CIA-funded body for each worthy subject. (One never hears of a World Congress for War.) But that's hardly surprising, when you note this par:
"Most of the organizations that took part in Tuesday's meeting are unknown to human rights activists, and those that are known tend to have roots in Soviet times. For example, one of the participants, the Federation of Peace and Agreement, is the successor to the Soviet Committee for Peace Defense, founded in 1949. It was members of this group who traveled to the West in the early perestroika years, in 1986 and 1987, to speak about improvements in human rights. The organization is now involved in the vague task of defending peace in the world, according to its web site."
Indeed. I suppose the world in that does not include Chechnya, seeing as the excluded from Mr. Lavrov's meeting include all the orgs that have spent the last few years publicising the real dirt about the war there. Sounds to me like one of those clubs whose greatest compliment is to refuse you membership. Anyone for a Salon des Refuses?

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