The End of Journalism

Anonymous letter are gone. They have been changed with pseudonyms

It is very hard to wash away the dirt from a snow-white shirt. You can try as much as you wish, but some spots will remain on anyway. The writers of anonymous letters knew that rule very well back in the Soviet period. An anonymous letter used to be a very efficient means of political struggle. Those letters would be written in kitchens, in party committees, in kindergartens and police stations – everywhere. Those letters were basically written either by small kids, or by experienced police officers, in order to avoid the peculiarities of individual handwriting.

As a rule, an anonymous letter was awaited before it actually arrived. A letter like that was basically used for slander. Sometimes it happened that a person was forced to commit suicide over anonymous slander.

A neighbor of mine, military pilot Ivan Merezhko, a Soviet Union Hero, was devastated with 20 anonymous letter fifteen years ago. He said that he had to go a special committee to deal with that issue.  The chairman of the committee told him that the walls of his country house were 15 centimeters higher than was supposed to be. “They told me that I had to make my walls shorter. I do not know, what kind of people they were. I think that the vile committee had both madmen and hangmen altogether. A sober man would never write any anonymous letters to report longer walls to the authorities. But it happened to me!” said Ivan.

Pilot Ivan Merezhko used to down German planes during World War II and no one cared, in whose airspace he was flying. However, when the war was over, someone calculated that his roof was higher than anyone else’s. This was the reason of his troubles that he had to go through for three years running.

At present moment an anonymous letter does not mean anything. If an anonymous letter comes into the picture, there will not be any legal process about it. Yet, rascals’ fantasy will never be exhausted. They  did not want to give up, they simply invented another form of anonymous letters that is used for the same purpose –political struggle. Now it’s called pseudonym.

Articles that are signed by fictitious names are basically the same as anonymous letters. The number of those articles grows on the threshold of some big political events, elections, for example. Someone, who signed himself as Dmitry Remezov, wrote a bad article for a large Moscow newspaper about a respectable institution in the city of Volgograd. That article was completely mean, cowardly, stupid and mendacious. 

It did not even occur to those people, who read that article, that there was no journalist like that either in Volgograd or in Russia as a whole. This is a classic example of a provocative article, which was like a bribe in its sense. The article was written under the disguise of a public and political text. However, an experienced journalist can easily see the so-called order. Those orders are basically provided by Moscow mass media and primitive PR offices that deal with black election technologies.

The authors that hide behind those pseudonyms can do without any offices. They can bring their own production directly to a newspaper. Five or six employees of a newspaper would do all the rest of the job, keeping it secret from the personnel. Needless to mention, that this is a high-paid job to do – no taxes, just cash.

It goes without saying that those things are done by shameless, greedy people. They are ready to write good and bad articles for any public figure at any moment. The only thing that they want is to get paid for it. Sometimes, this can be done by one and the same author, who signs his articles with various pseudonyms.

This method means the end of journalism. It is almost impossible to watch television now, to read tabloids with their pornography, dirty language and lies. Now we have those pseudo-writers. On the other hand, it is very easy to unmask them. It is not that hard to find out the people, who are interested in this or that publication. It is easy to find those, who approved the actual publication as well.  Those people split the payment between them, which is actually the only goal of the whole operation. Unfortunately, no one wants to deal with that issue, although it goes about simply a bribe.

Andrey Cherkasov

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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Author`s name Olga Savka