Russia’s Fist in America’s Belly
The major Russian daily newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda has opened a valuable window into Russian society by creating an English-language version of its website. A recent article entitled “Russia’s Fist in America’s Belly” (in Russian “«Русский кулак» под брюхом Америки“) goes a long way in illustrating just how seriously we can take the Kremlin’s claims that it wants a peaceful, cooperative relationship with the West.
For the uninitiated, the newspaper Pravda (“Truth”) was of course one of the basic propaganda organs of the USSR. Along with its counterpart Izvestia (“Information”), these two papers continue operating to this day, without so much as a name change. That alone should tell you quite a lot about how much has really changed in Russia (an old Soviet joke ran: “There’s no information in ‘Truth’ and no truth in ‘Information'”). and Komsomolskaya Pravda is an even more politicized name, since the “komsomol” was the youth indoctrination forum of the Communist Party. It’s as if Germany were still publishing a magazine called “Hitler Youth Life” two decades after the collapse of the Nazi regime.
The KP article contains some interesting claims.
First, it states that the two warships Russia is sailing into the Carribean (the Peter the Great and Admiral Chabanenko) are capable of defeating the navies of all the nations of both North and South America, excluding that of the U.S., combined. Apparently, Russia doesn’t feel it has enough enemies in Europe and Asia already.
Then it states: “The U.S. navy has a lot more to worry about now. And U.S. civilians are hardly enthused about Russian ships sailing nearby with nuclear weapons.” Direct threats to U.S. civilians from Russian nuclear weapons. Nice.
Finally, it trumpets: “Immediately after two Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers returned from Venezuela to their base in the Saratov region, a convoy of combat ships from the Northern Fleet set sail for the Caribbean.” As if one threat of nuclear genocide was not enough, let’s have another!
You’d be pretty hard-pressed to find a headline in a major American newspaper like “America’s Fist in Russia’s Belly,” unless perhaps it was criticizing America policy as too aggressive and offensive to Russia, dangerously risking an outbreak of war. A headline like that over an article bragging about American military power being shoved in Russia’s face would likely be viewed as far to barbaric for a civilized newspaper to publish, and would foment a storm of controversy if it appeared.
But you won’t find any articles worrying about the Kremlin provoking the world’s only superpower, and undermining the interests of the people of Russia, in major Russian newspapers like KP. Instead, what you’ll find are many, many other pieces just like this one, and you’d find the TV news full of exactly the same crude, vulgar stuff as well.
Does Russia really imagine it can use blunt threats of violence to make U.S. resistance to neo-Soviet aggression crumble and disappear? Are Russians really so oblivious of their own history that they don’t know how long and hard the USSR tried that tactic, only to find itelf stuffed rudely into the ashcan of history? Do they really think that Russia, a mere shadow of the USSR, will have better luck the second time around?
This is barbarism, pure and simple. It gives the lie to everything Dima Medvedev and Vlad Putin have said about being the innocent victims of aggression, and it’s only one story. Dozens like it appear in the state-controlled Russian press every single day of the week, and tens of millions of Russians lap it up like cream. There is no opposition political party to challenge it and no significant independent media establishment to monitor it. Every day, Russia becomes more and more blind to reality, leading even its highest leaders to issue paranoid fiats about American plots that embarrass even the most ardent of Russophiles.
It is truly the beginning of the end for Russia.