Following the annual Direct Line phone-in question program, reactions in the liberal Russian press were far from complimentary towards Russian President Vladimir Putin. In the independent media outlet Echo.msk.ru, the renowned Russian author Viktor Erofeev compared Putin to Jesus Christ, while Russian journalist Anton Orekh compared the annual Direct Line to the descent of Holy Fire, a ritual performed every year at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem on Great Saturday, the day preceding Orthodox Easter, and described by Orthodox Christians as a miracle. Orekh wrote: "If you are a believer, you don't care where the Fire comes from and how it comes about. You just feel good that it is there. It is the same with Putin. And it does not matter what kind of BS he is feeding you - you are either a believer or not."
Orekh also sarcastically added: "By now we have dozens of documented episodes of the descent of Holy Putin [in order] to build a road, to lay a power cable, to light a Christmas tree." He then concluded that "the president really sucks, because after almost 18 years of Putin's rule, no one is capable of changing a light bulb without his command."
Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta political editor Kirill Martynov also wrote that without "presidential intervention" there are no "miracles."
Below is an overview of liberal reactions to Putin's Direct Line appearance:
Russian Author Erofeev: Putin Resembles Jesus Christ
The renowned Russian author and journalist, Viktor Erofeev, said in an interview with the independent media outlet Echo Moscow: "Putin increasingly reminds me of Jesus Christ. Look, out of thousands and millions of questions, he chooses the ones, where he can appear the savior. He has just saved a woman from Stavropol… And if we have already compared Putin to Jesus, it has to be mentioned that [Russian political opponent Alexey] Navalany has created virtually ex nihilo a quite potent social –democratic [platform], like Lenin did. But I hope Navalny's regime won't be so Leninist."
Viktor Erofeev (Source: Inosmi.ru)
Russian Journalist Orekh: 'The Annual Direct Line With Putin Is Like The Annual Descent Of The Holy Fire'
Russian journalist Anton Orekh wrote an article, titled "The Descent Of The Holy Putin," also published by Echo.msk.ru. In the article, Orekh wrote:
Anton Orekh (Source: Neinvalid.ru)
"The annual Direct Line with Putin is like the annual descent of the Holy Fire. All await this Fire, as though God's grace will indeed descend upon them. And it does not really matter that some bearded guys have brought along a lighter to guarantee the Fire's arrival - it's all about faith.
"If you are a believer, it doesn't matter where the Fire comes from and how it comes about. You just feel good that it is there. It is the same with Putin. And it does not matter what kind of BS he is feeding you - you either believe in him or not. And if your faith in Putin is strong, then you like everything, you laugh at his silly puns about blue uniforms, and you really believe that corruption is not the country's main problem, or not even a problem at all. True, there are fewer and fewer believers. We love to tweak all sorts of stats to prove how much better and more cheerful our life has become and how broad is the people's support for whatever balderdash.
"However, this time the fraudsters who are used to rolling back the social odometers have screwed up. Last year Putin's Direct Line received nearly 4 million questions and appeals, and this year it is [down to] half that much, which is a real problem.
"Nonetheless, the grace can still descend upon some individuals. And by now we have dozens of documented episodes of the descent of Holy Putin– to build a road, to lay a power cable, to light a Christmas tree. And numerous dimwits can't stop beaming at our president, over how good, generous and caring he is. But I'll tell you that the president really sucks. Because after almost 18 years of Putin's rule, no one is capable of changing a light bulb in the hallway without his command. He is the only one who can make a decision, he is the only authority. And there are no intermediate links between Natalia Kalinina from Olovyanninsky District and the President of Russia, nobody at all. But as a result of the Direct Line, someone else besides Siberian bureaucrats will get clocked in the head pretty hard. Because this time the most interesting thing was not the questions and answers or some special effects, but messages coming up on the screen. This was a very rare case where you had to watch our TV yourself. From time to time, you could see glimpses of parallel and in fact real life. That is what happens when there is no editor, and people are allowed to write whatever they wish. 'Are you perhaps tired and need some rest?' It seems that some do not receive God's grace along with this Holy Fire, although many have already experienced epiphany."
Uncensored text message that slipped through on Direct Line: "When will you stop violating the constitutional clause regarding a maximum of two presidential terms in office?" (Source: Echo.msk.ru)
Russian Journalist Martynov: Without Presidential Intervention There Are No 'Miracles'
Kirill Martynov, the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper's political editor, wrote:
"Last year, we mentioned that the President's Direct Line remained the last alive civic institution. It seems that on other levels, nobody and nothing works; without presidential intervention there will be no 'miracles'. Currently, the situation is only getting worse: the President not only has "to repair, where it's not right", but openly says that he needs a civic institution of this kind in order to get a feel of society's mood. Usually, parliaments and free press serve as such institutions. Is it possible at all to assess society's moods by solving – once a year – a couple of apparently preselected social problems?"
Kirill Martynov (Source: 7x7-journal.ru)