Putin the Pundit

Vladimir Putin’s latest pro-Syria propaganda gambit is an op-ed piece for the New York Times so riddled with lies, distortions, deceptions and ignorance that it could easily have come from the Soviet Politburo.

Over on the powerful and influential American Thinker blog, LR publisher and founder Kim Zigfeld deconstructs the article point by point and exposes the fundamental fraud it is trying to perpetrate on American readers.  (Zigfeld’s piece has been translated into Russian by INOSMI).

Zigfeld is actually just one of a whole legion of Russia watchers who have condemned Putin’s article as transparent nonsense.  The publication of this article is a rare gaff by Putin, a mistake so ridiculous that we’re sure somebody’s head is going to have to roll in the Kremlin.

The manner in which Russia continues to stand up for the Syrian dictatorship, fueling it with weapons and providing intense diplomatic cover, is appalling. That dictatorship is engaged in a brutal campaign of genocide against its own people. But because Syria is one of Russia’s last remaining beachheads in the Middle East, Russia stubbornly clings to its nasty little ally, heedless of the harm to its international reputation.

Not one major nation has joined Russia in claiming that the Syrian rebels, not the government, were responsible for the use of poison gas against civilians.  Similarly, in 2008 not one major nation approved Russia’s annexation of Abkhazia and Ossetia from Georgia.  One after another, Russia has watched Kremlin-friendly regimes in places like Egypt and Libya topple and collapse despite Russian support, because Russian support cannot hope to overcome the clear will of the overwhelming majority of citizens of a nation.

Putin’s horrifically failed foreign policy is leading Russia down the same road trodden by the USSR, a road that leads only to national collapse.

Russia Beyond the Headlines and its Shameless Lies

Kim Zigfeld has penned a second installment in her ongoing series over at the powerful and influential American Thinker blog exposing the outrageously dishonest propaganda being churned out by the Kremlin bought-and-paid-for website known as Russia Beyond the Headlines.

This time, Kim shows how RBTH is  grossly distorting  the terrifying rise in military spending in Putin’s Russia.

Last time, Kim demonstrated how RBTH hideously misreported the kidnapping and torture of Leonid Razvozzhayev by the Kremlin’s operatives.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!

There is No Truth in Pravda

Is there a more ridiculous publication on the face of the earth than the Russian “newspaper” Pravda? You be the judge.

There is an old Soviet joke.  “Pravda” is the Russian word for “truth” and there is was also a newspaper in Soviet times called Izvestiya which is the Russian word for “information.” The joke was:  “There is no truth in Izvestiya and there is no information in Pravda.” These publications were instruments of the Soviet state, reporting lies and propaganda to the people of the country so they could be better controlled and managed, like sheep.

On March 20, 2013, the Pravda.ru website published an op-ed piece from Oleg Artyukov. No information of any kind is supplied by Pravda about Mr. Artryukov’s background or qualifications.

In the article, Artyukov stated: “Noteworthy [sic], there was not too much controversy about Brewington in U.S. media not to mention the fact that he was not represented as a victim of political persecution.”

This was an out-and-out lie.

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Closing in on Russia in the Courts

If you want to get a good insight into the true nature of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, just compare a news report on Voice of Russia, one of the Kremlin’s state-sponsored propaganda mouthpieces, with one from the same day on the same topic by Reuters.

Both stories address a ruling in April 2012 by the European Court for Human Rights.  The Court was adjudicating a lawsuit by numerous survivors of the more than 22,000 Polish officers brutally and cravenly murdered in cold blood by the Russian secret police in the Katyn forest during World War II.  First the Russian army arrived on the outskirts of Warsaw and watched while the Nazis liquidated the Warsaw Uprising, then they marched in and took the Nazis’ places as occupiers.  Then they rounded up virtually the entire Polish officer corps, trucked them into the Katyn forest, shot them down in cold blood and planted signs making it appear the Nazis had committed the crime, one of the most barbaric in world history.  They did this to eliminate the possibility that these offices might lead another uprising, this time against Russia.

The Reuters story reports truthfully on Russia’s numerous convictions for war crimes in Katyn.  It also notes that the ECHR found itself unable to address the subsequent Russian investigation into the crime, which the survivors also said was a perversion of justice, for technical jurisdictional reasons.  The Voice of Russia story ignores the convictions and only reports on the technical issue, making it appear Russia had been acquitted. It also minimized the possibility that the Polish families would pursue an appeal on the one area where Russia was not defeated, which it in fact they have done.  The appeal is now moving forward and can be followed on Twitter here.  Russia faces national humiliation and disgrace yet again.

Pussy Riot is also pursuing an appeal in the ECHR, asking the court to rule their persecution and imprisonment for singing in church was a violation of basic international norms of justice.

And now yet another legal battle has been opened against Russia. Google, on behalf of its YouTube website, has filed an appeal against Russia’s utterly barbaric new law that permits the government to block any website it wants for any reason, a law which the Kremlin has already tried to use against YouTube in connection with political videos.  Inevitably, this case will end up before the ECHR as well, when Russian courts refuse to apply the nation’s constitution in defense of basic civil rights and liberties.

Russia can run, but it can’t hide from the ECHR.  Russia has already been convicted there over and over again for state-sponsored murder, torture and kidnapping throughout the Caucasus.  Now the legal front is widening, as determined victims of Russian aggression and abuse turn to the ECHR for justice.  Russia is being exposed as a barbaric nation which will not observe basic civilized standards of behavior, thus alienating everyone from political allies to foreign investors.  In the ECHR, Russia’s days are numbered.

Russia Beyond the Headlines and its Lies

In a January 10, 2013 piece for Russia Beyond the Headlines, the Kremlin’s wholly-owned propaganda mouthpiece in English, Alexey Dolinskiy wrote:  “A February 2012 U.S. Gallup poll showed that only 2 percent of Americans see Russia as an enemy.”

It was an absurd lie.  The Gallup poll in question did not ask Americans whether Russia was “an” enemy, it asked whether Russia was America’s “greatest” enemy.  Another Gallup poll that same month showed that negative attitudes on the part of Americans towards Russia had nearly doubled over the prior four years, while positive attitudes had fallen by by 15%.  There is a consistent trend of increasing hostility towards Russia by Americans as Russia becomes ever less democratic.  RBTH headlines ignores that, of course, because it is not consistent with its propaganda efforts to undermine American opposition to the Kremlin.  And this consistent trend is all the more impressive because throughout this period the Obama administration has been engaged in relentless pro-Kremlin appeasement.

During the last U.S. presidential election, Republican challenger Mitt Romney called Russia America’s “greatest geopolitical foe” because it is “the nation which lines up with the world’s worst actors” against the United States. And there’s no disputing this contention.  Russia has sided strongly against democracy with murderous regimes all across the world, from Cuba and Venezuela to Egypt, Libya and Syria.  More than 60 million Americans voted for Romney to become president.

Then there’s Obama’s own Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who recently gave a speech which was closely similar to the “Iron Curtain” speech delivered at the outset of the Cold War by Winston Churchill.  She warned that Putin is now working feverishly to bring back the dark days of the USSR and Russian domination of the former Soviet republics in Central Asia.

Europe maintains similar or even more intensely hostile views towards Russia.

Russia Beyond the Headlines, of course, like its Kremlin masters themselves, simply doesn’t care about the facts.  Instead, all it wants to do is churn out propaganda that will undermine American resolve to confront neo-Soviet crackdowns and aggression.

Masha Gessen Jumps the Rails

On December 26th Russia pundit Masha Gessen published two hilariously dishonest and utterly deranged comments about the Moscow protest movement recently, one on a New York Times blog and one on a blog operated by The Guardian.  It’s precisely this kind of gibberish that makes it impossible to take the Moscow protesters seriously.  After all, if they’re really so powerful why is it necessary to use so many fantastic lies and so much absurd hyperbole when discussing them.

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Ellen Barry Misleads the World on Russia

A letter to the editor of the New York Times:

To the Editor,

The statement by Ellen Barry and Michael Schwirtz (“Vast Rally in Moscow Is a Challenge to Putin’s Power,” December 24) about the recent wave of anti-Putin protests in Moscow that “[i]f the movement sustains its intensity, it could alter the course of the presidential election in March, when Mr. Putin plans to extend his stretch as the country’s dominant figure to an eventual 18 years” is deeply misleading.  The writers fail to inform their readers that protest activity in other cities beyond Moscow disappeared almost entirely on Christmas Eve.  Less than 5,000 were on the streets of Russia’s second city, St. Petersburg, and almost nobody anywhere else.  0.2% of the population on Moscow streets cannot alter the course of the coming election. Nor can 0.4% or 0.6%. Moreover, in Ukraine we have seen a real popular uprising fizzle and dissipate, so that now its leader Yulia Tymoshenko is rotting in prison.  There is far less hope for Russia than these journalists would have us believe.

Kim Zigfeld — Russia columnist, American Thinker and Pajamas Media

A New Film on the Horror that is Nashi

The next time you find yourself mumbling unkind words about the apathetic youth of today, or else deriding the muddle-headed protests of twonkish Charlie Gilmour types, stop and think about the Nashi. A right wing Russian youth organisation bankrolled by Vladimir Putin’s shady regime and various big business interests, they practically make you want to raise a statue to any teenager who chooses to spend their daylight hours idling beneath a duvet or playing Robin Hood in the City.

— Peter Oborne in Moscow, hot on the heels of Nashi (“Nashi” means “us white, Slavic, Orthodox Russians” — you know, sounds like “Nazi“)

The Sickening Final Days of Dima Medvedev

Anyone who thought that two recent visits to institutions of higher learning in Russia would result in the education of Russia’s so-called “president” Dima Medvedev was pathetically mistaken.

First Medvedev visited the People’s Friendship University, and then days later he appeared at Moscow State University.  Before he left the latter, students had been arrested for criticizing him; at the former, an authentic neo-Soviet Potemkin Village was created to conceal the life-threatening living conditions faced by the wretched students who call the asylum home.

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