How does the Telegraph treat Navalny?

Usually I comment on the misinformation in the Guardian and Independent about Russia. But I strayed today over to the Telegraph. In this article there are some ‘points of misinformation’ but overall this is much better reporting that in the the Guardian and Independent – where extreme confirmation bias leads to a fake narrative. Comments:

The closest the activist came to an elected position was in 2013, when he stood for mayor of Moscow against Kremlin-backed candidate Sergei Sobyanin, scoring around 30 percent in a vote he said was tainted by fraud

This of course isn’t a lie. It could be said to be straight reporting. On the other hand; of course Navalny says that the election he lost was “tainted by fraud”. It is part of his strategy to do this. And it seems to be part of the format of liberal reporting to always give the point of view and explanations of the Navalny camp and to take them at face value. In reality it may well be that Navalny simply didn’t have enough support in Moscow. The idea in always repeating these ‘claims’ is of course to keep Navalny’s campaign alive. (The independently owned magazine ‘Morning’ published an article with multiple political observers saying that the elections were unusually fair [1]).

Five years later he attempted to run against Mr Putin for the presidency but was kept off the ballot paper because of a controversial conviction for embezzlement. Authorities have since resurrected that charge and are using it as the basis for his current detention.

This is not true. “Authorities” have not “resurrected” an old charge. Navalny’s probation for that conviction has been extended – before the current poisoning incident and apparently in line with Russian law. [2]

In the run up to the 2018 election, he laid out his political programme: as well as tackling official corruption, he sought to raise the minimum wage, double public spending on healthcare and education, pursue a less aggressive foreign policy, and hand over more power to Russia’s regions

This is babyish. “A less aggressive foreign policy”. First of all this is the myth that Russian Foreign Policy is “aggressive”. Possibly Theo Merz (the journalist at the Telegraph) hasn’t realised but the block with an “aggressive” foreign policy is the West – there are graves all over Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and former Yugoslavia which bear witness to that. Where is “Russian aggression”? The annexing of Crimea; almost entirely bloodless and with the support of 80% of the population (confirmed by German and US polling organisations) [3]? Or Russia’s lawful actions supporting its ally in Syria against extreme Islamic jihadis and (to a lesser extent) against ‘moderate’ rebels? And secondly; Navalny’s policy is not to be “less aggressive”. It appears to be to explicitly to abandon an independent foreign policy and give way on all flashpoints with the West. [4]

Actually, to be fair, the rest of this article in the Telegraph is considerably more informative and contains better reporting than some of the articles I have commented on recently in the Guardian and Independent. The author acknowledges Navalny’s nationalism and doesn’t exaggerate or sensationalise the narrative, giving a realistic assessment of Navalny’s position (that of his movement) in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Notes

  1. https://ytro.ru/articles/2013/09/09/1142783.shtml
  2. https://www.bbc.com/russian/news-40830028
  3. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2015/03/20/one-year-after-russia-annexed-crimea-locals-prefer-moscow-to-kiev/?sh=435efe88510d
  4. https://2018.navalny.com/en/platform/

Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer