More Shameless Lies from Vladimir Frolov
Writing in his latest Moscow Times column about the recent gas war between Russia and Ukraine, Kremlin stooge Vladimir Frolov wrote: “It looks like Russia won this one for sure.”
It’s hard to know where to begin listing the fatally dishonest flaws in this assertion (just plug his name into the search engine in our sidebar if you are unfamiliar with his litany of past lies). The aggressive manner in which these neo-Soviet freaks seek to bury the truth, prevent Russia from reforming and ultimately destroy the country in the same manner that the USSR was destroyed is deeply disturbing, to say the least, especially since he works with the Kremlin on its PR propaganda and spends most of the column praising the effectiveness of that propaganda. The Moscow Times routinely allows Russian businessmen with close Kremlin ties to write op-ed columns that are more like undisclosed advertisements, and this practice is utterly deplorable.
Counting the flaws in Frolov’s “analysis” takes some serious effort; one stragegy of a Soviet propagandist is to tell so many brazen lies that it’s too exhausting to document all of them.
First, one can’t help but remark how proud the Kremlin seems to be that it can “defeat” tiny backward rivals like Ukraine and Georgia. Is this really what Putin’s Russia has come to?
Second, if Russia won decisively, why is it necessary to say so? Wouldn’t it be obvious? Is Mr. Frolov gloating? Russia has been exposed as being unable to deliver natural gas to Europe, a central component of the Kremlin’s revenue and powerbase. It has been totally stymied in its ability to do so by a nation less than a third its size with no significant military establishment. Hardly something to gloat about.
Third, Russia wanted Ukraine to pay $250 per unit of gas, while Ukraine wanted to pay $200. As of the date of Frolov’s column, Ukraine had not agreed to Russia’s price and was using stores of gas to proceed if nothing had happened. Is that victory?
Frolov, sounding like one truly insane, praises the Kremlin for a brilliant PR victory when, in fact, Russia’s action in switching off the taps terrorized Europe, resulting in a massive public relations debacle debacle for Russia and motivating Europeans to curse Russia and redouble their efforts to find alternatives to Russian gas.
Bloomberg reported: “If you had a neighbor who cut off the heat in your building in the depths of winter, would you want him as a star guest at your party? The damage caused by this winter’s gas war between Russia and Ukraine may already be too great for Putin to restore whatever good reputation Russia had.” The Telegraph accused Russia of rigging the pipelines to falsely implicate Ukraine in misconduct. There was no significant positive coverage of Russia’s position in the mainstream Western press, which pilloried Russia from stem to stern, and Frolov is simply lying to suggest otherwise (he works in the PR field and may have been paid substantial sums by the Kremlin to help smear Ukraine; he makes no attempt to disclose any conflict of interest in any of his columns). Is that only way “victory” can be achieved in Russia?
Investors were also apalled. Kieran Curtis, a fund manager in London at Aviva Investors Ltd., stated: ” The long-term story for investors is negative on Russia. Stopping the flow is going to make all of their customers look elsewhere for at least part of their gas.” More of what neo-Soviets like you consider “winning,” Mr. Frolov? By that standard the USSR “won” itself right into the dustbin of history.
Given all this horror, what could Frolov point to as “evidence” to support his claim of “victory” (while ignoring all the foregoing evidence of loss)? Let’s see.
Frolov begins: “The new year started in a familiar fashion with Russia and Ukraine in a brawl over payments for Russian gas and Europe seeing its gas deliveries siphoned off by Ukraine.” That’s a lie. There is no proof Ukraine “siphoned” gas for its own use, and the nation’s government has denied doing so.
He continues, attempting to praise the Kremlin’s PR skills: “Moscow began the information offensive well in advance, way before it became clear that it was again on a collision course with Kiev over gas prices. ” So let’s see if we understand: Frolov is admitting that Russia started a propaganda campaign long before it had even the remotest complaint about Ukrainian behavior, and he feels that is evidence of Russia’s innocence?
Next comes this:
Gazprom acted preemptively by inviting Britain-based SGS, a leading energy auditing company, to its gas pumping installations at the points of entry and exit from Ukraine, providing early documented proof of Ukraine’s wrongdoing. Gazprom also wasted no time in filing a legal complaint with the Stockholm Arbitration Court against Ukraine’s Naftogaz for breach of the gas transit contract.
So apparently Russia didn’t cut of the gas to Ukraine because Ukraine wouldn’t pay the price Russia demanded, but because Ukraine was siphoning off Russian gas without paying anything. Search the Western media coverage long and hard, you won’t find a scrap of information about that claim. The only siphoning issue arises from Russian charges after the cutoff began. That’s a PR victory? Sadly, by Russia’s pathetic standards, it just may be.
He writes: “During this year’s crisis, message coordination was good. It was clear that all Russian spokespeople on the issue were reading from the same script.” But he doesn’t quote a single pr0-Russia comment in any major Western news outlet.
He claims: “It was also a big diplomatic coup for Russia to drag the EU into direct mediation and monitoring of Ukraine’s fulfillment of its transit obligations. This immediately made Ukraine look like the chief culprit and forced Kiev to come up with bizarre explanations that only reinforced the sense of Ukraine’s culpability.” What nonsense! Having European forces enter and occupy Ukraine is good for Russia? What brand of crack is this maniac smoking? Neo-soviet denial is truly a frightening thing.
He asserts: “Media outreach efforts by Gazprom and the Russian government were preemptive and proactive. ” Again, not a single quote from any media source praising Russia and condemning Ukraine is given. His only remark is that “few” Western media establishments called Russia a “bully.” But in fact, virtually every mainstream Western media establishment concluded that Russia was at least as much to blame for the fiasco as Ukraine, and they universally agreed that Russia was exposed as an unreliable energy partner which had caused the shortages in Europe for no good reason.
And then Frolov really loses it, referring to “a fantastic performance delivered by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at his meeting with European reporters late last week.” Fantastic? Does it seem to you, dear reader, that this venal little sycophant is being paid by the Kremlin? Are we supposed to believe that this Kremlin toady is offering us his objective opinion of Putin’s “performance”? Would he care to cite just one newspaper report confirming his diagnosis? No, dear reader, he would not.
This is the “Emperor’s New Clothes” phenomenon about which we have written so often on this blog. The Kremlin sycophants are totally cut off from real information, and consumed just as in the time of Stalin with a desperate desire to please and justify the regime. This leads them to make ever more ludicrously inaccurate statements, until the entire sham collapses like the house of cards it is.
Then Frolov takes yet another shot at “President” Medvedev, arguing that he played the “appropriate backstage role” while Putin showed his mastery of both PR and substance in the manner “few other politicans” can match.
Ouch. Not only did Russia totally fail, once again, to “win” the public relations war, but yet again the crisis highlighted the utter fraud being perpetrated within the Russian “presidency.” Russia was exposed as a benighted, backwards, grasping and incompetent country totally unable to manage its crucial energy exports.
And yet, according to Frolov, it was winning. That’s not surprising of course when you remember that Frolov’s ancestors insisted the USSR was winning too, right up until the moment of its collapse.
With friends like Frolov, the people of Russia need no enemies.