More anti-Russia propaganda in the Guardian

by on May 13, 2017 in Media Comment

It is hard work keeping up with the endless stream of dishonest anti-Russia articles in the Guardian.

This one is fairly typical fare. Actually it is credited to AFP (a media outlet part-owned by the French government).

It is about an apparent protest and some arrests in Moscow. Typically, the main source for the article appears to be a special interest group. The paper does not appear to have checked the story with the Moscow authorities despite having at least one (possibly more) journalists based in Moscow.

Comments:

i. Faking it 

The headline talks about a “monitor” as the source of the story. That sounds credible. Who do they mean? A UN body perhaps? No – it turns out they mean a Russian web site dedicated to tracking arrests during protests. (Incidentally that such web sites exist is not particularly consistent with the narrative line about the “Kremlin controlled media environment in Russia”. But anyway). I.e the sole source for the story is a pressure group.

ii. Claims become real

This is absolutely normal for this kind of propaganda:

Dadin, 35, was jailed in December 2015 for the supposed crime of holding repeated peaceful demonstrations against President Vladimir Putin’s rule without official permission.

In a letter to his wife smuggled out from prison in November, Dadin alleged he had been tortured behind bars, as well as threatened with rape and murder.

His allegations exploded into the public eye, shining a spotlight on abuse that forced the Kremlin to pay attention.

Ildar Dadin did indeed claim that he had been abused in custody. Notice however that in this text the Guardian simply claims that the abuse took place. A claim by an opposition figure is immediately elevated to the level of truth. Russian media reports that a prison service investigation into these claims found them to be not true. [1]

iii. Shameless lying:

Dadin, 35, was jailed in December 2015 for the supposed crime of holding repeated peaceful demonstrations against President Vladimir Putin’s rule without official permission.

No such crime exists on the statute book in Russia and Ildar Dadin was not prosecuted for this. He could not have been. This is made up. There are laws in Russia which require that public rallies be authorised. In this case Mr Dadin was imprisoned for repeatedly breaking these rules (under a law which permits imprisonment in cases of repeat offences). [2] The Guardian is simply making up a story here. The offence was not “supposed”. It is a real offense on the statute books in Russia. And it has nothing to do with the content of the demonstrations (“against Putin”); the offence concerns unsanctioned rallies. The Guardian can certainly criticize these laws from its liberal perspective. But this account is just fiction.

iv. One law for them

In the UK there are very draconian powers which control what people can do in public spaces known as Public Space Protection Orders. [3] Different countries have different laws. The Guardian’s obsession with criticizing the situation in Russia far more than it does the situation in the UK is strange. For example the Guardian writes:

In 2014 Russia controversially introduced criminal charges for those who breach rules at protest rallies twice or more in a period of 180 days.

That is indeed the law under which Mr Dadin was jailed. But who decides it is “controversial”? Again; this strange spectre of the Western liberal class assuming it has the right to criticise what happens in Russia. A right they hold as fast to as they hold to the idea that if Russia comments on what happens in the West that is an outrageous example of “interference” etc.

What lies at the base of this distorted narrative on Russia – indeed this cheap hatred of Russia? It seems that they hate Russia (a hatred they personalise onto “Putin”) because it is not like them. But this betrays some strange kind of insecurity about their own values. Are they really the democrats they claim to be? If they were they might admit that Putin is democratically elected and is widely popular in Russia. It looks like the Guardian cannot admit that democracy can ever produce anything other than the liberal, hedonistic, materialistic values they hold so dear. But this means that they aren’t in the end really democrats at all.

Notes

1. RT

2. Amnesty International

3. Manifesto Club

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