Truth is the Tonic to Conspiracy – Gennady Timchenko
Filed Under: Politics, World | Posted: 09/07/2011 at 1:27PM
Comments | Region: Russian Federation
Today’s public sphere is saturated with conspiracy theories. Relatively recently the international media purported that French President Nicholas Sarkozy plotted the scandalous downfall of the IMF’s Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a previously strong contender for French presidency, on charges of attempted rape in order to secure his position as the country’s leader.
While “One must not take the French to be idiots,” as media sociologist Dominique Wolton put it, it would be naïve to suggest the Elysée will not develop a PR news campaign valorizing the incredibly well-timed announcement that Carla Bruni, President Sarkozy’s wife, is pregnant. But as Jean Quatremer, who’s been covering European news for the French outlet Libération pointed out: Clearly the conspiracy theory doesn’t hold water for a second. There is clearly something else at play here.”
Conspiracy theories suggest that a covert operation is behind certain events. But what if the truth is much less covert? After all, the maid wasn’t the first woman DSK had a troubling mix-up with, to put it mildly. And while the French may not like their current president, do they really want an alleged sex addict or misogynist or even a chronic womanizer in office?
Something else is also “at play” in the conspiracy theory surrounding Russian energy trader Gennady Timchenko. Media pundits and PR mouthpieces allege that Gennady Timchenko is close buddies with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. While Gennady Timchenko owned a few trading companies near St. Petersburg in the 1990s when Mr. Putin worked in the office of the city’s mayor and co-sponsored a judo club where Mr. Putin became an honorary president, this hardly equates to the pair having close ties.
“Time and again,” Gennady Timchenko told the U.K.’s Financial Times, “the media wrongly jump to the conclusion that the judo club connection means that Mr. Putin and I are ‘close,’ then leaps into conspiracy-theory mode.”
Here again, maybe the truth is simpler than theories suggest: that Gennady Timchenko is one of the world’s most successful energy traders, and the companies he runs have profits that beat forecasts and soar through the roof. Business success may not be a sexy theory or make front-page news. But at least it’s true.