Russian journalist blasts 'Big Brother Britain' and compares it to life in the old Soviet Union

A Russian journalist believes the level of surveillance is worse in ‘Big Brother Britain’ than it was in Russia during the Soviet era.

Irada Zeinalova, who is based in London, said she felt she was being constantly spied on by security cameras.

She highlighted how in the UK the level of monitoring is such that even rubbish bins have computer chips fitted so councils can check what householders are throwing out.

‘Security has got absurd,’ she said. ‘I don’t like that level of intrusion into my private life.

‘London is a Big Brother city. It is all watched by cameras. Even in the days of the USSR you couldn’t imagine such a number of cameras or observers. Your moves are even monitored by your bus tickets. There are CCTV cameras on every building and computer chips on the rubbish bins.

‘They can tell a lot about your life by studying your rubbish bin. All aspects of your life are plainly visible here.’

Mrs Zeinalova, 37, an award-winning correspondent in London for the Kremlin-controlled Moscow TV station Channel One, accepted that some Russian journalists in London face close monitoring by British counter-intelligence.

One, from the Vesti TV programme, ‘had a full-scale spying operation on him. It’s a normal thing here’.

She said Londoners seemed reassured by the level of security and imagined that if some calamity occurred they would be rescued by the emergency services.

‘They explain the CCTV cameras on every corner by fighting terrorism and crime – but sadly it doesn’t solve the problems,’ she told the Moscow newspaper Komsololskaya Pravda in an interview.

‘Watching the rubbish bins, they waste more money than on the actual fight with the problems.’

On a different note, Mrs Zeinalova added: ‘And as for smokers – they are treated like lepers here.’

She said the English believed they were ‘masters of the world’.

‘The Englishmen’s position is: let all the rest of the nations argue about who is the master of the world, we won’t take part in it. We know who is the master.’

The British were also proud of their reputation for being stand- offish. ‘The British are a very special separate-nation,’ she said. ‘I have been here for two years and I communicate closely with quite a lot of people. But no matter how closely we chat, they never let me in.’

Mrs Zeinalova said the British worship TV and football.

Being a ‘safe society’ exciting things don’t happen very often, so the British become obsessed with TV.

‘Recently, one of the TV show participants – a small and not very famous one – decided to leave,’ she said.

‘The papers were going on about it for a week. We would never have it like this in Russia. It is a completely different perception of life.’

As for football, ‘it’s a mix of unbelievably high ambitions, money, advertising and popularity in England’.

But she admitted: ‘I have fallen in love with football, I am a fan of Manchester United now.’ (4.21.2009, Will Stewart)

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