After the collapse of the USSR there was a honeymoon period when the West and Russia had ‘good relations’. This period coincided of course with a chaotic transformation of the Russian economy and Russian society to free-market capitalism – a period in which a few Russians – often with prior links to either crime or the Soviet State machine – became very wealthy and many Russians suffered a great deal.
In the last 10 years it has all gone wrong; now the US is on Russia’s list of “unfriendly nations” and the UK is probably not far behind. Differences over Crimea and Syria and the Arctic play a large part. As no doubt do various (likely) Russian intelligence operations in Europe. The Litvinenko poisoning went largely unanswered, but in the febrile atmosphere after the annexation of Crimea the attempt on the life of Skripal did not. My own view is that it is highly likely that a Russian spy agency poisoned the Skripals and that this was a significant political mistake – they simply don’t grasp how these things are seen in the West.
Continue reading ““They don’t see the world as we do” the problem with Russia”
Western liberals do it all the time. The millions of people in Eastern Ukraine who are historically linked to Russia and who would, in the main, prefer to be part of Russia than part of a Western-leaning Ukraine are simply de-existed. The resistance in Eastern Ukraine is ascribed to “Russian meddling”. They couldn’t possibly want it for themselves could they?
The same thing happens pretty much to the millions of Russians who are quite happy with the present political settlement and system in Russia. All the Western liberal press writes about is Navalny and his fans and the system he is trying to replace. Everyone else is ignored. At best they are depicted as passive (and stupid) victims of “Kremlin media control”.
The de-existing appears to be ‘institutionalised’. This appears in an (AFP contributed) article about a prosecution of an elderly lady who had worked (as a child) in a concentration camp:
In all, the Nazi regime exterminated 6 million Jews and hundreds of thousands of others in the Holocaust 
These figures seem to include the 6 million Jews plus homosexuals, disabled people and gypsies – people Western liberals care about. They omit the 5 million Russian (Soviet) civilians and 3 million Soviet prisoners of war.  Presumably because Russians don’t count.
Dominic Raab the UK Foreign Secretary is denouncing Russia for arresting ‘peaceful’ protestors for ‘merely expressing dissent’.
In the same article linked above the Guardian reports that protestors are blocking traffic.
In the UK last summer hundreds of people were arrested for blocking the roads in London in Extinction Rebellion protests. They face more serious penalties than many of those arrested in Russia.
This so often heard call about ‘peaceful protests’ is imperialism. Apart from the indisputable fact that people in the UK are arrested for ‘peaceful protests’ the fact is that these people are breaking Russian laws. Why does Raab think that ‘peaceful protests’ trump Russian law? Who is he to rewrite Russian law?
And, to make Raab’s calls for Russia to allow “peaceful protests” even more absurd we can note that as of now political protest in the UK – even a single-person protest – is completely illegal. Any political protest. Russia is also in a Coronavirus epidemic: the logic is that Raab thinks that in the UK the epidemic justifies a total ban on political protests, but in Russia large demonstrations should go ahead. It turns out that Raab doesn’t care a jot about ordinary Russians and whether they catch Covid. In fact he is all for it if it will lead to a political change and a more privatised Western-friendly business environment.
These people are absolutely despicable.
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 ).
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. 
Continue reading “How does the Telegraph treat Navalny?”