The New Observer Uncategorized Routine lying on Times Radio

Routine lying on Times Radio

Russian MP Popov explains that the key issue for Russia is Russian security. NATO has been getting closer and closer “year by year” – since the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact NATO has just expanded closer to his borders. He explains that Putin will win the election because he is popular. He expresses confusion about how the West obsesses about Russian elections. This is all true/understandable. Fully rational.

Let’s look at the lies told by the Times propaganda curator.

1) “It is an invasion not an operation”. This is the absolutely necessary lie. They know it. If they admit it is a “special operation” they have to admit into play the narrative they absolutely suppress; the undemocratic coup in Kiev, the changing of the constitution by the post-coup regime to allow Ukraine to join NATO (despite this not being massively popular in Ukraine – 54% in 2021) [1], the validity of Russian concerns about an unstable neighbour joining a rival military organisation, the complex questions around different visions of Ukrainian statehood, especially strong in the East. All this is suppressed by their narrative: imperial/Soviet revisionist Putin has “invaded” Ukraine because he is evil. A nonsense narrative that requires Putin to be irrational. As Professor Mearsheimer points out – the initial force was no way big enough for an “invasion”. This was an operation to take territory in Eastern Ukraine, given the failure of the West and Ukraine to implement Minsk, and to either force a regime change in Kiev (reverse Maidan), or put pressure on the government there.

2) “That is the view from the United Kingdom”. No it isn’t. It is the view from the political and media classes – an out touch and self-interested elite who take their orders from the US State Department. (My straw polling in the UK – when I talk to ‘random’ people I meet is that this view is probably shared by less than 50% of the population; a view borne out by looking at the comments sections in the liberal press itself).

3) Talking about Navalny’s funeral and some people being arrested. (A small number). “That doesn’t sound like a democracy.” Russia is not a democracy. (Or at least it is some kind of “managed democracy”). Why should it be? The majority of its people don’t want a Western-style of democracy. They prefer something a bit more stable and unified. There is nothing in any international treaty which says Russia should be a liberal democracy. On the contrary – the UN recognises sovereign states without respect to their internal political system. They just can’t get it. Popov is explaining it very clearly; we are not interested in your system. Why are you so interested in ours? What we (Russia) are interested in is relations between our states and our security. It isn’t that hard.

4) “No one is dictating anything”. One would fall about laughing if it wasn’t so serious. This just after the journalist has thrown the usual “Putin is an assassin” charge at Popov, complained about Russian fake democracy, lied about a lot of arrests at Navalny’s funeral, told him his country cannot defend itself (which is how they see the operation in Ukraine), and so on. This is some kind of “double-bind” psychological game.

5) Absurdly she then complains about Putin having used a vampire metaphor for Western leaders. But, of course, routinely calling Putin a Nazi – a profound insult for a country which lost 23 million people in WWII is fine. Indeed this happens all the time with invited guests on her channel and the editors often use the charge in the headlines on the pieces.

6) After Popov comments on the moving of NATO countries closer and closer to Russia “year by year”, the journalist says “they would say that they are doing that to protect themselves … they’ve seen what’s happened to Ukraine”. A slick lie. Popov is talking about the multiple waves of NATO expansion since 1991. The journalist quickly reframes that as something which has only happened since February 2022. Glaring lying of the sort which is absolutely routine in Western media. Again – the main point is to suppress the objective narrative. Even admitting the simple reality of NATO expansion since 1991 (14 new countries before February 2022) would make some people think that maybe Russia has a point. So it has to be suppressed.

The journalist doesn’t get it. She just wants to talk about Russian politics. As Popov points out – why are you so interested in this? This is one of the main themes of Richard Sakwa in his book: The Lost Peace – How the West Failed to Prevent a Second Cold War. [2] Sakwa discusses how there are two visions of the international system. Russia sees the ‘international order’ as an order of sovereign states. The West prioritizes those aspects of the post-war settlement which relate to their values; liberalism and ‘human rights’. The West has, in Sakwa’s phrase, substituted their vision of the international order for the actual one – that is the one based on the Charter of the UN, (which does not mandate ‘liberal democracy’ as the only valid political model). The same problem is also discussed, from a different angle, by Professor Mearsheimer in The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities [3]. Western liberals are so hubristic, so convinced of the superiority of their system that any country which does not have it is backward and ‘wrong’. (Allowing for a few massive lacunas around certain strategic allies). They believe they must impose their system on these countries. The “great substitution” of Sakwa’s analysis of international relations is then replicated, necessarily, in the way the journalist has to substitute any objective analysis of the Ukraine situation which this fake narrative about “irrational, imperial Putin a monster and dictator one day upped and invaded Ukraine for no reason”.

All this is routine for Western media. Look at how the journalist sniffs at Popov as if she is talking to something dirty. It really is outrageous.


  1. Quoted from Sakwa. International Republican Institute, ‘IRI Ukraine Poll Shows Support for EU/NATO Membership, Concerns over Economy and Vaccines for Covid-19’, 17 December 2021,
  2. Sakwa, Richard. The Lost Peace: How the West Failed to Prevent a Second Cold War . Yale University Press. Kindle Edition.
  3. Mearsheimer, John J.. The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities (The Henry L. Stimson Lectures Series). Yale University Press. Kindle Edition.