Robert Bridge: Shameless Neo-Soviet Liar
On September 28, 2008, American citizen Robert Bridge was interviewed on the Kremlin’s propaganda TV network “Russia Today.” RT characterized the interview as follows: “Robert Bridge from the Moscow News weekly says Europe should think over if it is really interested in U.S. leadership.”
Sounds like something the Kremlin itself might say, doesn’t it? How might Russians react if a Russian (say, Garry Kasparov) said something like that about Russia? Might they not call him a traitor and seek to incarcerate him? Would they not, perhaps, even be motivated to violence? The Kremlin’s official English-language propaganda blog, Russia Profile, also admires Bridge’s work, as does the Guardian-PSJ blog, the reincarnation of the failed Intelligent.ru Russophile orgy led by the same pathological Kremlin apologist Sergei Roy who was the longtime editor of the Moscow News. Bridge moonlights as the copy editor for the Russia in Global Affairs blog put out by Fyodor Lukyanov, another darling of Russia Today who recently authored a piece in the Moscow Times headlined “United States Lost Russia and Everything Else.” Not just a lot of things, mind you — everything. Lukyanov is a member of the “Russian Council on Foreign and Defense Policy” which is chaired by fire-breathing Russian nationalist Dmitri Rogozin.
The Moscow News is one of the more obscure and irrelevant sources of information about Russia that exists in the world, which is why it’s taken us a bit of time to get around to the loathsome little reptile who runs it. We have, however, previously exposed the sheer nonsense spewed forth by one of his “reporters.” The paper was founded by communists in the 1930s (thus making it the oldest English-language publication currently operating in Russia), and then faced with bankruptcy and failure was purchased by oil oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovky. Khodorkovsky installed opposition journalist Yevgeny Kiselyov to clean house, but the paper’s staff revolted and the effort failed, whereupon the paper was snapped up by Kremlin-controlled wire service RIA Novosti (the paper’s website is currently hosted on RIA’s server). In other words, the Moscow News these days is little different from Russia Today itself, and Robert Bridge is its very own Peter Lavelle. In other other words, it’s full of truly ridiculous lies.
Bridge writes articles with titles like “Ten Reasons why Russia can’t trust Uncle Sam” and then he turns around and complains that the Russian perspective is not fairly reflected in Western commentary about Russia. He has argued in support of the outageous anti-American propaganda film about the 9/11 terrorist attack which recently aired on Russian state-owned TV, asserting doubts “that a civilian Boeing aircraft had crashed into the Pentagon building” and asking: “In any plane crash there are remains left. There is luggage, there are seats, etc.: Why did this plane crash so differently from any other crash we have seen?”
On August 14th, Bridge wrote the following in a column about the war between Russia and Georgia:
On August 8, at the crack of dawn, Georgian forces launched a full-scale sneak attack on the breakaway region of South Ossetia. By lunchtime, and despite Georgia’s tiny military machine, over a thousand civilians were reported dead, and tens of thousands scampering for safety. And you did not have to be a military analyst to cringe at the news that about a dozen Russian peacekeepers and hundreds of Russian passport-holders were amongst the fatalities.
That’s quite a lot of shameless lies to pack into such a small space, isn’t it? Let’s list them for Mr. Bridge, shall we?
(1) The war begin at 11 pm on August 7th, not at “dawn” on August 8th and had actually been “launched” several hours before that, when Georgia forces moved out of their bases in the late afternoon.
(2) It was not a “full scale” attack. Only a tiny fraction of Georgia’s military entered South Ossetia. In fact, Georgia couldn’t have launched a “full scale” attack even if it had wanted to, because it had a large contingent of soliders stationed in Iraq as peacekeepers. The light Georgia forces that moved into Ossetia were easily brushed aside by the invading Russian forces that responded.
(3) It was not a “sneak” attack. Georgia’s president went on national TV and begged Russia to accept a cease fire, warning that if it didn’t he would have no choice but to silence the Ossetian guns. Russia ignored his pleas.
(4) The “report” of 1,000 civilian casualties came from the Russian government itself, and it was totally false. In fact, less than 200 civilians were killed in the attack, and many may have been killed by Russian forces during their bombardment of the Ossetian capital.
(5) The Russian forces were not “peacekeepers.” They did nothing to restrain the unprovoked military assault by Ossetian forces on Georgian targets during the days prior to the war, and their presence was not authorized by any international body.
Bridge then asks plaintively upon viewing a BBC report on the war: “You may be asking, or screaming, as I was, where is the Russian point of view? Well, it was graciously provided by the fuming Georgians, Western diplomats and western politicians. I guess all of the Russians were too busy brandishing arms to pause for an interview for BBC.”
Let’s help him find it, shall we? Major western newspapers published columns by former Russian ruler Mikhail Gorbachev and current Russian foreign minister Segei Lavrov. The Washington Post even published an op-ed by a Russian student of journalism, one of its interns. There are dozens of other examples, all folks taking Russia’s side and criticizing the president of Georgia, who was assailed by many for making a major miscalculation.
And now let’s ask Mr. Bridge: Where was America’s perspective on Russian television and in the Russian presss? Where was Georgia’s? And where were your complaints that Russia was not giving a fair share of airtime to those views? Did any leading Russian newspaper publish a column in Georgia’s defense by, say, George H.W. Bush or Condoleezza Rice? Doesn’t Mr. Bridge have anything to say about the reporter who was fired by Russia Today for trying to tell the whole story of Russia’s invasion? It seems not. Didn’t Vladimir Putin, whose decision to invade has now been repudiated by the entire civilized world, and the same for his unilateral decision to annex Ossetia and Abkhazia, make any mistakes during the conflict? Do the pages of the Kremlin-owned Moscow News document any such examples? And how about journalist access to Ossetia and Abkhazia right now? Doesn’t Mr. Bridge have anything to say about the total exclusion of foreign journalists from the area?
But here is the incredible part of this conflict that has so conspicuously escaped the attention of the media: Saakashvili punched far below the belt by authorizing his audacious military assault the day after a cease-fire agreement had been struck between Georgia and the separatists. This trick had been out-of-style ever since Hitler employed it against Soviet Russia. The media barely raised an eyebrow over this dirty deed.
But still, this is not the most deplorable part of Saakashvili’s master plan. This clearly pathological and monomaniacal man, who has dragged the good name of democracy through the mud to conceal his nationalistic fervor, chose to launch this war under the cover of the sacrosanct Olympic Games, an event that brings leaders, global citizens and athletes together for peaceful competition just once every four years. To plan a war is one thing, but to deliberately plan it to break out on the opening day of the most momentous event in the history of human civilization, is simply evil. Saakashvili’s loss of credibility as a responsible leader should be the top order of every news channel.
Another torrent of lies. Shall we list them again? Let’s do:
(1) Georgia offered a cease fire, the president did so on national TV. The Ossetians ignored it and continued their shelling of Georgian territory. Only then did Saakashvili attack, as any leader of any country would have done in his place. The media “barely raised an eyebrow” because there was no “dirty deed.”
(2) Saakashvili was elected by the people of Georgia in an poll international observers approved of as free and fair. Comparing him to Adolf Hitler is the statement of a madman.
(3) Is it “nationalistic fervor” to seek to retain deny other nations the ability to annex part of your territory? Was Vladimir Putin guilty of “nationalistic fervor” when he invaded Chechnya? Did the Moscow News accuse him of it?
(4) Everyone agrees that it was the Ossetians who fired first. If anyone “chose to launch this war under the cover of the sacrosanct Olympic Games” it was Ossetia, with no effort by Russian “peacekeepers” to prevent it from doing so.
(5) When speaking of “loss of credibility as a responsible leader” the chief topic of conversation is Vladimir Putin. Hindsight now makes Mr. Bridge look like an utter fool, as every nation in the civilized world has condemned Russia for aggression Georgia and refused to recognize Russia’s crude annexation of the disputed territories.
(6) Note how this “journalist” addresses the president of Georgia: He calls him “evil” and “pathological” and “monomaniacal.” Aren’t these exactly the same words that the Kremlin itself is using to describe the President of Georgia?
These are the “friends” of the Kremlin and the people of Russia, those whose only gift is the naked lie, helping Russia to maintain its current course towards oblivion, the same course followed by the USSR at the urging of its own “friends” not very many years ago.
Woe is Russia!