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Economist: Crimea parliament



On 27th February 2014, Russian soldiers without their uniform first seized the Crimea parliament. This marked the start of Russia’s war against Ukraine. On 27th February 2015, exactly a year later, Boris Nemtsov, an opposition politician in Russia was killed on a bridge in Kremlin. Before his death, he was handing out leaflets for an anti-war rally to be held on March 1st the same month. Ironically, the March he was planning to start hi anti-war campaign turned out to be his memorial procession. His death is the start of the return by Russia to campaign for political violence by Ukraine. It had been noted that aggression by Russia abroad and its repression in the country are closely linked (The Economist, 2015).

According to the state propaganda, Kiev’s revolution is considered a fascist coup while the Ukrainian government is considered a western-backed junta meant to harm the Russian rebels in Ukraine’s east. The media in the country urges all Russian patriots to fight the fascists in the country including Mr. Nemtsov who is considered a ring leader and identify pro-western liberals. Because of fear that Russia could have to face the Maidan revolution, the Kremlin has decided to use the same violence he used in Ukraine. Six days before the death of Nemtsov, Kremlin planned an anti-Maidan rally that forced Maidan troops into Moscow. The anti-Maidan rally supporters had slogans denouncing the Russian, Ukraine, and the West liberals (The Economist, 2015).

The anti-Maidan march acted as the peak of a long struggle of intolerance and hatred. This was supported by Nemtsov some hours before his death in an interview when he said that Russia was changing to a fascist state. This was because of the propaganda that was spreading that there was nucleus of assault brigades. There were also terrorist groups and pro-government extremists whose main aim was to fight opposition in areas where the police could not reach. Russian proved that it was outsourcing repression to fight against non-state groups showing a sign of state weakness. In order to conceal Nemtsov’s death that was believed to be by the government, Putin’s propagandists stated that the killing was by foreign liberals. They further argued that the opposition had warned to murder one of their own in order to blame the Kremlin. For the Russian liberals, this was believed to be a new sign of political repression, similar to what was evidenced in 1934 after the killing of Sergei Kirov (The Economist, 2015). 

Description of the Rhetorical Situation

            The article passes political messages explaining how politicians can use their power to suppress and repress those below them or those who go against them. It such cases, politicians do not care what a person is in the society or how close he is with the person. If a person does not weight his words properly, the politician will decide to silence him for good through murder. However, even when the evidence points on the politician who carried out the murder, the available evidence is not strong enough to incriminate the politician. In this case, the politician (the Kremlin) has the support of the government, which has decided to rule by oppressing anyone who goes against its leadership style. This is the fate Nemtsov suffers after deciding to belong to the liberals and challenge the government. While all the other liberals can clearly point the finger to the Kremlin as the assassin, they do not have sufficient evidence to incriminate him. And in fact, the Kremlin has words to defend himself. He blames the murder on other liberals and external forces (The Economist, 2015).

            The article is constructed for everyone who is interested in political matters and especially how some countries such as Russia are run. The author has decided to bring to light some hidden information that might never come to the surface. His content and style are clear to fit his target audience, the general public. He supports his information from the current issues that prove that Russian government is an oppressing government. The assassin ofNemtsov and the jailing of Alexei Navalny, a blogger and opposition leader to stop him from attending the organized anti-war rally are examples of current issues that have pushed the author to write the article(The Economist, 2015). He has also been pushed to write the article by the anti-Maidan protest that was conducted almost in the whole of Russia to fight against the liberals.

Evaluation of the Rhetorical Choices the Author makes

The author decided to step up and reveal his intentions, emotions, and confess what he thought to be the truth. The contents in the article are a good example of the author’s temper and mood (ethos). In the author’s opening paragraph, the mood is set as he explains the death of the greatest opposition leader in the country. The author chooses strong words that demonstrate his feelings in a country in which the government that should be protecting its people is oppressing them. He explains how the government dislikes challenge and how it mercilessly deals with it in case it happens. He uses active verbs that carry the weight of his information. For instance, the author says, “Prompted by the far-fetched fear that the Maidan revolution could be replicated in Russia, the Kremlin has re-imported the violence it deployed in Ukraine”(The Economist, 2015). This is an indication that the government is not worried of the pleas of grievances of its people but has the solution to the Maidan revolution; using violence.

The author says that there are ‘pro-government extremists and terrorist groups which openly declare that their aim is to fight the opposition where the police cannot”(The Economist, 2015). This metonymic ‘fighting the opposition’ is onomatopoetic suggesting the extent the government is willing to go to achieve its goal of repressing its own people. The author is concerned with the words he chooses to show his emotions. He notes, “The anti-Maidan activists include the leather-clad ‘Night Wolves’ biker gang, who played an active role in the annexation of Crimea and have been patronised by Mr Putin. More alarming are MrKadyrov and his well-trained, heavily armed private militia of 15,000 men, who several months ago swore a public oath to defend Mr Putin”(The Economist, 2015). He uses metaphor ‘Night Wolves’ to explain how the government feels about people who pretend to be on its side and when out sight, they are in the opposition. Here, he also used active verbs and verbals ‘well-trained, heavily armed private militia of 15,000 men’ to explain how the government thinks the private militia is adequately prepared for war.  

Description of Choices I would have done differently

            I do not think there are things I would have done differently. The author uses all the best rhetorical choices that fit his article. His information has to be made clear by use of active verbs, metaphors, metonymic, onomatopoetic, and revealing his mood to show how he feels about the Russian government. This way, he explains how the government considers people who challenge it and how far it is prepared for the fight. From the author’s choice of words, it is evident that the government does not have friends and even those who swore to be by its side are noted to be wolves as night. I would have made the same choices as the author to pass the message to the target audience clearly. 




The Economist. (Mar 7th2015). Russia after Nemtsov: Uncontrolled violence. Retrieved from