A musical instead of Magnitsky Act in the UK

On Sunday, BBC Radio published an audio version of a musical on “The Magnitsky Act” that got the name of «an amazing story of a justice crusade of an American financier» [William Browder].

Hundreds of interviews, videos, publications, thousands of reposts in social media, dozens of presentations, meetings, speeches, books over and over again – William Browder, who made a name for himself on death and big money, closes a ten-year mythical story with a British musical performed by stars of British TV series, now sponsoring   a comedy made of the death of his “friend” – whom he didn’t know while the latter was alive.

It’s no wonder Browder chose a musical for the audio version of his story, and on top of everything, it was in the genre of a comedy. But then again, how else can you treat bogus narratives? As a lawyer, I understand that this form of presentation, with fictional dialogues, generalized characters presented as artistic fiction, can result from the risk of being prosecuted for libel. Well, as long as the British find humor in this story, let’s try and laugh with them too.

So, the musical lasts 1 hour 34 minutes and is a comedy story about the life of a tax consultant, aka auditor, aka lawyer, aka the ghost of Hermitage Capital, Sergey Magnitsky. At first glance, the plot rewords the story described by Browder in his book called Red Notice. But, either by yielding to the intention of increasing the dramatiс effect or realizing that this is a story of a nonexistent person, the authors, with the support of renowned performers, allow us to explore this phenomenal victimology case.

By the way, there have been attempts to make a movie on the same book in Browder’s country of birth, and on a Hollywood scale too, but, by his own admission, they went up in smoke. Talking about his “crusade” in November 2018 in another one of the hundreds of his interviews to the publisher of The American Interest Charles Davidson, Browder complained that he had made careers three times – “on Wall Street, in Moscow, and in Washington, D.C., and in each of the places I dealt with some really hairy characters.” Everyone and his brother heard the wondrous and terrible adventures of the British citizen of American and Russian origin [William Browder] in Russia that he hated as much as he had loved before. It would be interesting to hear about the «hairy characters in Washington» he had made his real career with – in the form of the Magnitsky Act, but he preferred not to dwell upon it. However, he admits that all that was uncomfortable and dishonest in his life was nothing compared to “dysfunction and dishonesty in Hollywood.”

Britain’s response to him was honest – satirics and humor. Very English. With meaning between the lines.

After first hearing the musical, there remains no doubt left that it is just another attempt to promote the widely known legend, the fairy tale of the good guys and the monstrous Russia, and perhaps even bring up the question of the Magnitsky Act in the UK [Oh yes, in this respect, Albion turned out to be more far-seeing and did not sign a new firing list, of course, depending on their own economic interests and centuries of dignity.]

Now, the glorified legend implies no logical and linear plot architecture, or critical evaluation and analysis of facts. The whole story is based on playing with feelings and emotions of the listener. We’ve read it; we’ve seen it already, now it’s the turn of our ears. So, as the Scripture says: “He who has ears, let him hear!”

The musical itself is a comedy that is filled to the brim with mockery, irony and sarcasm. Magnitsky is represented as a ghost, so not by any stretch of the imagination can one think that such a form can respect the memory of anyone. The absurdity of this story is accented by the form of the musical itself.

Thanks to the talented line-up of performers, the images and the story can be visualized quite easily. Thus, for example, given the history of the family and childhood of Browder, the Magnitsky ghost is seen as the embodiment of «spectre of communism haunting Europe», which frightened the Atlantic club countries in the 20th century, and is now haunting Browder too. The director uses long-standing images which he uses trying to revive the ideas and approaches of the Cold War, thus again labeling Russia, the heir to the USSR, as the axis of evil.

At first glance, it may seem that the main purpose of this creative impulse is to clean the name of Sergei Magnitsky from impurities. Don’t be surprised, but in that sense you can find there one of the few pieces of truth in Browder’s story. Sergey Magnitsky was indeed a victim in someone else’s game, but only «his friend» as Browder described himself, even here tries to avoid mentioning his role in the life and death of Magnitsky, the reasons for his arrest, and his now obviously ominous silence until his death.

It is interesting that sometimes strange statements can be heard in the text that might make you think that the director deliberately gives his listeners leads to unravel the principles of Browder, his motives and the musical itself.

Here is one of such leads: “the internet truth is the truth that you choose”, which pictures exactly the mechanism Browder uses to befool the audience. As we know, propaganda throws out analysis and critical approach, and a dogma is created for a reader-viewer-listener – one truth that can’t be disputed and that has no alternative. For it is known that it was thanks to the global network that Browder’s legend became a fact for the average man, and everyone who questioned it (not to mention giving the direct evidence of lies) – became persona non grata or certainly «FSB agents».

Here we recall a fragment of an interview of the ideologist of the Magnitsky Act with director Andrey Nekrasov. Browder’s reaction to the attempt to ask him a clarifying question speaks for itself – he broke off the conversation and left the room threatening suing. Nekrasov violated the main rule in his opinion – he doubted! He, the greatest mystifier, will not be caught by surprise (except during his deposition), that’s why Browder’s response to the proposal by Nicolas Bayfrom the Europe of Nations and Freedoms (ENF) group at the session a year ago at the TAX3 Committee for an open discussion with Nekrasov was tailored and instantaneous. He said: “I knew there’d be a question from the FSB!!!”, and chose not to go to debate.

It’s noteworthy that the information environment we live in is to Browder’s benefit. The global web has entangled the world, and information flows have become less controllable and are spreading at an enormous rate. Under these conditions, old and well-known propaganda methods catch their second breath and get stronger.

Another interesting phrase: “you need money to do magnificent things… like justice,” – the principles on which such ideologists operate are well described in this statement. If we decipher the sentence, «magnificent things» stand for “hybrid war”, and «justice» stands for “the Western project of world order”. Money in this chain is a means to an end. Having found themselves in the status of «information pioneers», the Atlantic club countries were able to create an impressive arsenal of instruments of ideological battle, which found use in William Browder’s case.

Canonizing the idiom of the power of the Internet and money, the director basically gives a thoughtful listener the right to choose whether or not to believe in this version, fed by the same Internet on a lot of money.

A musical instead of Magnitsky Act in the UKMoving on the plot of the «work», you involuntarily find yourself thinking that the director has outmaneuvered himself or Browder. Instead of promoting the legend of British Ostap Bender, which must have cost a bundle, because the cast boasted very famous faces, in the end we see only a mockery of Browder himself.

As Karl Marx once said, «History repeats itself twice – first as a tragedy, then as a farce.» The story of a man, a Russian citizen who died as a result of irreversible changes and with the connivance of the duty doctor is a tragedy. The farce is that Browder has done and will continue to do his best to ensure that Magnitsky’s mother, his widow and son will never regain peace. What could be more ruthless and mean? This is his show. And the Show Must Go On.

January 15, 2020

By Natalia Veselnitskaya


VESNA NEWS — official website