Yes, it is, in all certainty, political theatre. It is merely Putin’s most recent effort at self aggrandizement, ranking up there with his photographed, shirtless image, riding a horse, barebacked. Releasing political prisoners right before the Russian Orthodox Christmas, among them, the two remaining incarcerated members of Pussy Riot, each a beautiful young mother, with small children, is a cheap political ploy, guaranteed to bring Putin an abundance of political capital among his myriad, loyal supporters. Or, is it?
All cynicism aside, unscaling our jaundiced vision, might this not have been, actually, a genuine move of compassion, for people who have already suffered more than enough? Might not the release of the fabled Greenpeace activists be a covert admission of agreement with their cause, in favor of not polluting the Russian Arctic? Doubtful, but remotely possible, it might be that even a former KGB operative holds a shred of human decency.
In contrast, what has the Nobel Prize winning, noted humanitarian President of the United States done, of late? Have the imperialistic, American central Asian wars really ended? Has Guantanamo ever closed? What about the promise of aiding impoverished students and indebted college graduates with their burdensome student loans? What ever happened to the notion of restructuring the enormous mount of student debt, let alone of forgiving it? Come to think of it, what about universal healthcare? ObamaCare is hardly even a pale comparison.
Mikhail Khodarovsky and the activists of Pussy Riot, as well as the thirty Greenpeace Arctic Sunrise crew members are no longer imprisoned in Russian gulags. They are all free. That fact stands in sharp contrast to the fates of American prisoners remaining in captivity at GITMO, the millions of Americans remaining without decent healthcare, and the millions of suffering American college students, and former students, drowning in debt. Each of these is a failure of campaign promises made by candidate Barack Obama. No, Barack Obama is not “worse than Vladimir Putin”. Such a statement would be ludicrous, is ludicrous. However, Barack Obama is no John Kennedy, no Lyndon Johnson, nor Jimmy Carter, either. In a climate where even the leader of, allegedly, a government notorious for its human rights violations would commute the sentences of masses of political prisoners, regardless of his motive for doing so, US President Barack Obama remains pathetically laclustre.