FRIDAY AUGUST 29 CONTENTS
(6) The Mailbag
FRIDAY AUGUST 29 CONTENTS
(6) The Mailbag
Olga Ivanova, Liar or Neo-Soviet Patsy?
On August 15th, a Russian graduate student in journalism from Duquesne University named Olga Ivanova published an op-ed article in the Washington Post. In it, without attribution to any specific source, she repeated as fact the following Kremlin propaganda statement:
Within hours, Georgian troops destroyed Tskhinvali, a city of 100,000, and they killed more than 2,000 civilians. Almost all of the people who died that night were Russian citizens. They chose to become citizens of Russia years ago, when Georgia refused to recognize South Ossetia as a non-Georgian territory.
She then compared Georgia’s attack on its breakaway province of Ossetia to the actions of Nazi Germany that led to World War II, implying Georgia’s democratically elected leader was analogous to Adolf Hitler. As far as we can tell, that’s Olga pictured above, showing her participation in the Muskie Scholarship Program of the U.S. Department of State; apparently, the U.S. government funded all or part of her education. Click here to listen to her being interviewed by NPR.
These factual claims by Ivanova were not only totally false, they were made based solely on statements issued by the Russian government, a highly interested party, without disclosing that fact to Post readers, and Ivanova has done nothing to set the record straight — all while purporting to lecture Americans about their journalism standards.
Here’s the real story.
Russian History, Repeating Itself
At the end of the Quentin Tarrantino movie “Kill Bill” the heroine delivers a secret Kung Fu blow against her adversary while they battle, one which allows the nemesis to walk away apparently unscathed. But after taking a number of steps, he staggers and drops lifeless after his heart explodes.
Something very much like that happened to Russia after what it regards — quite insanely — as its greatest military triumph, namely World War II. Russians can talk all they like about how they “defeated” Germany, but while Germany united over the course of the next few years Russia fell apart. The USSR disintegrated, and today Germans enjoy a standard of living immeasurably higher in every respect than what is faced by Russians. Far from being the nation’s greatest victory World War II was actually Russia’s great defeat, in part because the nation did not even realize it had occurred.
The Enemy Within
We’ve written before about the pro-dictatorship propaganda being churned out in the name of American conservatism by the Discovery Institute’s Russia Blog, which is run by one Yuri Mamchur, a Russian citizen, and which works closely with the Kremlin’s propaganda TV network Russia Today and its propaganda website Russia Profile. It’s not surprising to see an affinity between the intelligent-design-promoting Institute and the Putin’s Russia, of course, since as Christopher Hitchens says “the black-cowled phalanx of Russian Orthodox Christianity is back at the side of the new czar.” Putin wants to create a Holy Russian Empire, and it seems Discovery Institute wants to be a part of it. Probably, they’d enjoy a similar transformation of the United States.
Such a nexus is particularly troubling when Russia begins to expand outside its borders using military force in an effort to annex parts of independent, democratically governed secular states — as recently happened in Georgia. Therefore, we take this opportunity to review that institution’s coverage of the Georgia conflict and to remind unwary web readers of who they are and what they are about.
Investors Business Daily reports:
In contrast with the West’s otherwise tepid response to Moscow’s new nationalism, one group has taken a tough stance — investors, who are leading the march out of Russia’s markets.
Last week Kim Zigfeld warned on Pajamas Media that the West must rally to the cause of protecting Ukraine from Russian aggression. The trouble started in Ossetia with Russia distributing passports to Georgian citizens of the breakaway republic then using those passports as a pretext for invasion, and it appears Russia is now doing the same thing in Crimea. Now, Radio Free Europe reports the terrifying details:
Ukrainian fighter jets swooped low over the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, and tanks and armored personnel carriers rumbled along the city’s main Khreschatyk Boulevard on August 24 as part of the country’s Independence Day celebrations. But amidst anxiety that Ukraine could be the next country to feel the might of a resurgent Russia, many in the crowds marking their country’s 17th year as a sovereign state likely wondered if the jets and tanks might soon be headed into a real conflict.
Dear La Russophobe,
As always, “La Russophobe” is the best place to get all the relevant facts of the Georgia crisis.
Given that the governments of Western Europe, and indeed, sadly, our own, are unwilling to take meaningful military action to protect Georgia’s territorial integrity, I’ve been wondering what can be done to come out of this crisis with Russia genuinely put in check.
I’m curious about your opinion on what may be both a realistic and an effective way forward. While I’m loathe to suggest it, the best option I see is as follows: Have Georgia let go of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and then, have NATO fast-track Georgia and Ukraine in. I’m talking a matter of weeks, not years.