Russians and the Facts
Russia is a nation with a very interesting take on facts. Basically, it believes there is no such thing. The government acts on that belief, and the lemming-like population blithely allow them to do so.
Both the Communist and Tsarist dictatorships behaved this way, and the result that they became utterly blind to reality, including the pernicious problems that were undermining the nation’s foundations. Not knowing about them they of course could not take necessary steps to resolve them, and the result was, twice in the course of just on century, total national collapse.
So, for instance, while in another country having an army like Napoleon’s roll into your capital and take it over would be viewed as a rather negative event, in Russia they tell their kids it was a brilliant masterstroke by Russia’s commanding general, the best way to assure victory. Similarly, Russians celebrate the battle of Stalingrad, which literally raised a whole large Russian city to the ground, as another epic national victory.
Which brings us to a letter to the editor of the Washington Post written by Dmitry Peskov, deputy chief of staff and press secretary to Vladimir Putin.
Peskov was complaining about a Post editorial which we republished a few issues back the Post publication drew 7 comments, ours drew 20) which pointed out how Russia was waging a new round of energy war against a nation, like Ukraine and Georgia, which should have been one of its closest friends. This time it was Lukashenko’s Belarus that was coming in for the Putin treatment.
In a truly breathtaking example of Russian hypocrisy, Peskov began his letter by claiming that the Post’s analysis “was based on an unwillingness to follow daily news as well as a reliance on false premises and outdated stereotypes.” In reality, of course, it’s Peskov and his Kremlin that acts without awareness of the real news of the day, since they have crushed the life out of all major media news reporting, including actually murdering dozens of journalists and making Russia one of the most dangerous places for a reporter to work on the entire globe.
You know that the Post struck a nerve when it forced Peskov to respond with a word like “stereotypes.” That’s Russophile code for “racism,” the utterly ridiculous canard they fall back upon whenever they no substantive response to criticism. They simply label any Russia critic “racist” — a term that makes absolutely no sense since the “Russian” that the critic is addressing is a nationality, not a race. Frankly, the fact that Putin’s chief spokesman would need to sink this low is just plain pathetic.
Peskov then repeats the Kremlin’s prepackaged propaganda drivel that it trots out whenever it attempts to achieve imperialistic ends through its energy weapon, a weapon it has repeatedly promised the world it would not use in return for being allowed access to world markets, so crucial for Russia’s survival. It’s a sad drumbeat being issued from a second-rate nation:
The so-called “dispute” between Russia and Belarus is in reality an ongoing negotiation between supplier and customer. For years, Russia subsidized Belarus by providing deep discounts for oil. This discounted oil was used not only for Belarus’s domestic needs, but considerable amounts of it were refined in Belarus and exported to European markets at the real market price.
Belarus has and continues to be an important economic partner, and we value our relationship with this country. The best sign of our commitment to this partnership is that we are still ready to supply oil to Belarus for domestic consumption at a discount. But Belarus continues to insist on maintaining old pricing structures despite the fact that they no longer make economic sense.
As any entity would do in a changing business climate, we are reevaluating the terms of the agreement that expired Dec. 31. We seek to honor our commitment to Belarus while continuing to serve as a reliable energy supplier to Europe. The Post’s ill-considered, politically inflammatory commentary serves only to make it more difficult for responsible parties to resolve the issue.
This is nothing but a torrent of childish lies, the same absurd stuff we heard in Soviet times. Like the infamous Emperor with his “new clothes,” Peskov and his Kremlin are so out of touch with reality and so supremely arrogant that they believe we’ll fall for this garbage.
In an “ongoing negotiation” one partner does not threaten to take its marbles and go home. One partner does not place the other, much smaller and relatively defenseless, in the position of a subservient slave desperately afraid it’s children will freeze in the winter. When the USA treats Russia this way, Russia is outraged and shrieks to high heaven. Yet filth like Mr. Peskov are simply incapable of realizing that Russia is making exactly the same impression on countries like Belarus, Ukraine and Georgia. Instead, just as in Soviet times, we get this laughable pretense that everything is just fine, that Russia never, ever makes mistakes.
And let’s be clear: When Russia discusses “discounted” prices, Russia means it is buying influence and seeking to exert imperialist influence. For years, Belarus was one of the only countries willing to stand by Russia’s side in international relations, and even allowed talk about re-integrating with Russia as a single state. Now, the total failure of the Putin regime’s foreign policy has caused that relationship to deteriorate dramatically, and once again Russia does not hesitate to use brute force, like the bully nation it is. It was for that bullying that the Post quite properly criticized the Putin regime, and Peskov utterly ignores this reality. Not for a second does he stop to ask if his government might have been even a bit heavy-handed or violated in the slightest way its wider interest in international respect and confidence.
We wonder if Peskov ever criticized as “ill-considered, politically inflammatory” any Russian coverage of the Georgia conflict. We doubt it. We doubt that he said a single word of protest when Russian TV and newspapers reported a hysterically inaccurate casualty figure in Ossetia, and failed to correct the record later.
Instead, marking himself as one of Russia’s true enemies. Peskov writes as if Russia were biologically incapable not just of doing anything wrong but even of making an innocent mistake. But the facts prove otherwise, and the world stand slack-jawed as Russia destroys yet one more crucial international relationship. Note well that it is Russia, not Belarus, that questions the accuracy of the Post’s assessment of the dispute. Peskov does not even try to quote any Belorussian confirming his sick claim that all is well. People in Belarus, seeing only now the true nature of their looming Slavic brother to the north, don’t have time to write letters expressing their views. They’re too busy preparing for the coming war, right along with their peers in Ukraine and Georgia, which have already seen Russian tanks on the move when energy warfare failed to achieve its ends.