United Russia Focuses on its Image rather than Wildfire Relief Effort
VLADIVOSTOK. August 30. VOSTOK-MEDIA – United Russia and pro-Kremlin youth movements have been increasingly vocal in asserting their contribution to combating wildfires that ravaged Russia in July. In practice, however, aid often comes very late. It appears that authorities are more interested in burnishing their image than in the effects their relief efforts produce.
Despite the numerous reports in the media concerning the ongoing state-run relief efforts, including Dmitry Medvedev’s recent gathering of Russia’s top businessmen in his official residence in Sochi and urging them help homeless fire victims, there is still much to be desired.
Vladivostok WWII Veterans’ Community has collected two containers of aid for wildfire victims in Nizhnegorodsk Region and Voronezh Region. Yakov Kan, Chairman of the Veterans’ Community, hit a snag when he came to the local branch of Russian Railways: the company said they could deliver the humanitarian aid, but only at regular transportation prices. The veterans had to pay 39,000 rubles ($1,270) to deliver the consignment.
The party’s recent attempts to burnish its image are likely to stem from the failed propaganda campaign related to the wildfire response measures. One of the state-run websites published a story about youth activists of the United Russia partys youth wing, Young Guard, who were combating wildfires near Voronezh. The problem is that the photos were “fake but accurate”. Tech-savvy visitors discerned some numbers in the corner of a picture showing it was taken in 2008 and altered in July 31 this year. What is more, no wildfires occurred in the Voronezh Region two years ago. The pictures were later removed from the website, but not until many people had a lot of fun out of it.