My favorite part of Obama’s inaugural speech:
To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.
Oh, I’m sure he could have been thinking of a lot of people, but could it be, by any chance …
… someone like this?
(I know Dmitry Medvedev is formally the president, and I think it may be true that he’s accumulating more actual power; but the suppression of dissent and the clenched fist held out to the West — those are all Putin.)
Much has been made of the fact that the Chinese media (though not all) censored Obama’s speech, excising both the above passage and the one on the U.S. fighting both fascism and communism. But according to Russian blogger chaadaev56 (link in Russian), some of the Russian media also engaged in on-the-spot censorship. The Vesti news program on the state-owned Rossiya channel broadcast the inauguration live but the simultaneous translation skipped the reference to dissent. Of course, simultaneous translation usually skips part of the text — it’s difficult to keep up — but the translated excerpts from the speech posted on the program’s website were also doctored. The Russian version says, “Those who seek power by means of corruption and deceit must know that they are on the wrong side of history.” No reference to dissent, and “seek power” suggests that Obama is talking about people who are not currently in power.
The translation by the Interfax news agency was even curiouser: “Those who rise to power through corruption and deceit, silencing decency…”
But in this case, the fault may actually be a translator with shaky language skills who innocently mixed up the words “dissent” and “decent” (though the two words sound nothing like each other in Russian).
Another news agency, RIA News, did provide the complete translation of the passage.