Of Rats and Ships
We continue to be amazed at the extent to which the Russophile rats are leaping off Vladimir Putin’s listing ship of state. It’s almost enough to make us think we’re not being hard enough on neo-Soviet Russia, that things behind the new iron curtain are worse than even we dare to imagine.
We’ve previously written, for instance, about how Discovery Institute bigwig Bruce Chapman began backing away from the Putin regime after uber-blogger Charles Johnson took him to the woodshed over DI’s pathologically dishonest and warped coverage of the Georgia crisis on Russia Blog. We can’t prove it, but we believe Chapman has been read the riot act by the conservative donors who support him, and has tried to impose a course correction on Yuri Mamchur, the loose cannon Russian citizen who runs the blog as a pro-Kremlin PR project. After a relentless barrage of one-sided Kremlin propaganda from Mamchur, Chapman personally entered the fray on Georgia and called Putin “silly” for believing that a U.S.-sponsored plot lay behind the Georgian move into Ossetia. You can bet that didn’t go down too easy with Mamchur, to say the least.
And then there’s Andreas Umland.
We’ve previously skewered this weird little guy for his Russophilic gibberish, but now it seems even he is able to see the neo-Soviet writing on the wall. Writing in the Turkish Daily News (an appropriate forum for this fellow, we feel), Umland accuses Russia of a “miscalculated show of strength” in Georgia, the very same term Russians want applied to Georgia’s democratically elected president’s decisionmaking in the crisis. Ouch, that’s got to sting the Kremlin!
Umland exposes Russia’s bizarre hypocrisy:
After what the Russian army had done to Chechnya in the 1990s, Moscow’s noise on Georgia is not only hyperbolic and -critical. The Russian leadership helped also to provoke the Georgian attack and had been seemingly waiting or even preparing for it. For several years now, Russia’s tightly controlled world news reporting and foreign affairs commenting have been dominated by shrill anti-Americanism.
He illuminates their pathological anti-Americanism, which he calls an “obsession”:
The Russian leaders’ inferiority complex with regard to U.S. power, apparently, also resulted in inattention to possible effects that their sharp response to Tiblisi’s inapt actions would have on countries’ good relations to which are seen as being of importance to Russia, by much of her elite. Russia’s resolute show of strength was primarily intended for the American spectator and did have the effect on U.S. political and intellectual leaders that Moscow had been anticipating or even hoping for.
And he condemns neo-Soviet failure:
Like numerous times before, the Russian leadership appears as a prisoner to its own propaganda. Moscow’s leaders, of course, know that most information on political matters spread by Russian media and officials is, at best, filtrated, and, at worst, falsified. Yet, they continue becoming hostages of the aggressive public discourse evolving out of this manipulated factual basis. The results recall Russia’s inadequate reaction to the fall of Milosevic or the Orange Revolution, and her subsequent loss of influence in Serbia and Ukraine – nations historically close to the Russians. The conduct of Moscow’s leaders’ foreign policy falls victim to the archaic political order they have created in post-Soviet Russia, in the first place. What, so far, is saving the Russian leaders from manifest domestic embarrassment is that media reports on the obvious mishaps of Russian foreign policy are also manipulated. A plethora of marginal statements by non-Russians supporting Moscow’s behavior in the Caucasus is extensively documented on Russian TV while Europe’s stiff position and the former Soviet republics’ lack of support remains uncommented or even unreported in Russian mass media. However, outside the Kremlin’s propagandist bubble, Moscow looks increasingly isolated – a perception that, sooner or later, will also find its way to the Russian public.
The extreme nature of the Kremlin’s behavior is having the effect of driving away all but the most truly hardened and crazed of its sycophants — like Peter Lavelle for instance, whose blog postings on the Kremlin’s Russia Today propaganda network grow more Sovietlike with every passing day, and like Andrew Kuchins, whose ravings we republish below — creating a truly neo-Soviet environment of insular paranoia. One commenter on Lavelle’s blog called his lunacy “smug in its supportive stance to the Russian perspective” and stated: “I understand that you are being paid to produce a desired synopsis focussed on a snapshot of today’s news.” Another stated: “Your comment on Rice’s speech about Russia was reckless and dangerous.” A third added: “Those who know how Russia’s internal power system works are not about to get caught up in the trendy anti-US global political point-scoring we see so often in comments here, because we are more interested in Russia and its people and how they are mis-governed. Until Russia sorts out how to treat its own people with dignity and respect it will never be trusted as a global player in bringing peace, justice and security to other parts of the world, least of all to its long-suffering neighbours.” And the fourth came with the heavy artillery: “I have to comment on what is a truly an alarming development; your arguments make absolutely no sense and it is apparent that the entire application of your intellect is directed towards framing a (exogenous?) nonsensical line of thought. You consistently speculate on the issues using half-truths, cheap shots, populist rhetoric and sometimes clear propaganda in order to sell your story.”