Imperial Games

Kremlin’s court commentator Konstantin Semin caused a diplomatic row between the two new best friends, Serbia and Russia. In a comment openly justifying terrorism that was broadcast on 21 February, he called Zoran Đinđić, Serbia’s prime minister shot in March 2003 a “Western puppet” and “the person who tore down the legendary Serbian Army and special services, sold the heroes of the Serbian resistance to The Hague for abstract economic aid and received the bullet he deserved”.

During his visit to Belgrade a few days later, Russian president-to-be Medvedev presented an explanation, which obviously satisfied the Serb authorities. And this is it. Consequences? Ah, but we don’t want to spoil the good friendly relations, do we? There’s a gas pipeline in the make, Gazprom is about to buy the Serb oil monopoly NIS against the expressed will of parts of the Serbian government. The price for the political support on Kosovo will be counted in Rubles. Many of them. Very many.

Semin, whose TV station Rossiya has not reacted or apologised in any way, shape or form (yet?), is the bearer of the order “For the Service to the Fatherland”, I class, awarded to him in June 2007. The order “is to be awarded to the persons and teams, who have shown an outstanding performance in the cause of restoration of historical traditions and national self-consciousness, of spiritual and moral formation of the Russian society, and for the valiant service to the Fatherland and for the charity.”

The spiritual and moral formation Semin stands for could be witnessed in the campaign that finally led to the killing of a probably less spiritual and moral colleague of his: Ana Politkovskaya. And it could hardly pass unnoticed that the comment about Đinđić aimed straight at Serbia’s president Boris Tadić, who is at best lukewarm about the unequal Serbo-Russian love affair.

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