Guardian lies on Russia

There are two Guardian “journalists” stationed in Moscow (as far as I can see).

Neither of them can, it seems, open their mouths without telling lies. Not little spins or fibs to help the “Putin is a bad man and Russia is a dictatorship” fairytale along – but outright lies.

This is from today’s Guardian.  The headline refers to a “political crackdown”. In reality there is no such thing other than in the imaginations and press releases of a very small number of people in Moscow and St. Petersburg (with maybe a very few in other major cities). These people represent a tiny fraction of Russians. They are, at best, one group amongst several which can be identified (from a sociological point of view) as being opposed to the current political setup in Russia. The alleged “crackdown” refers to the normal operation of Russian law in relation to protests organised over the Summer in Moscow by this group.

Some of the lies in this article:

While a public backlash has forced the prosecutors to drop many of the charges, 17 people have been sentenced or remain under investigation.

This claim that the authorities only ever do anything ‘good’ in relation to a “public backlash” has been a staple of the Guardian’s coverage of these events. I would take an educated guess that it comes straight from Navalny’s Press Releases. In reality the vast majority of the hundreds arrested for taking part in unsanctioned demonstrations were released without charge the very next day. Those against whom cases are still active are charged with offences more serious than just participation in an unauthorised rally (which for a first offence carries only a small fine). It seems very likely that this was a deliberate policy by the authorities from the outset – to avoid putting lots of people through the courts and to focus on the “ringleaders” of violence and social disorder. Given the scale of the disorder it seems hardly surprising that some are still under investigation. It would appear that the Guardian thinks they should not be – which would appear to place the Guardian on the side of people who attack police officers and who riot.

A criminal investigation into money laundering has also been opened against opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s anti-corruption bureau, an investigative unit that has exposed alleged graft by senior government officials, including Dmitry Medvedev, the prime minister.

“Anti-corruption bureau” is a generous term. As concerns the claims about Dmitry Medvedev – Navalny’s group did make some claims (apparently about misuse of charities to siphon off funds) [1] and did publish some photographs of a country house alleged to be involved but the claims have been denied and there the matter lies. Even the State Department RFE funded propaganda outlet fails to do more than repeat the claims – without backing them up. [1] “Exposed alleged graft” is a typical tongue-twister that Western propaganda writers end up producing. The author wants to believe his tale about a “political crackdown” on “corruption investigators” in Russia. But there is a little voice in his head trying to tell him not to write anything which can subsequently be disproven (which would damage his career) and so we end up with “exposed allegations” which doesn’t make sense. Either some allegations were made or Medvedev was actually exposed as corrupt – but “exposed allegations” is just what one of my language students would call “weird”.

(Interestingly an ex volunteer for Navalny’s “anti-corruption” operation has claimed on the liberal newsite Meduza that Navalny’s group misleads the public claiming that their website is blocked due to political censorship when in fact it is blocked for many users due to the organisation’s use of a private DoS firewall system. The system has IP addresses in a range which are block banned by the Russian Internet watchdog – but simply taking the site out of the firewall system would solve this problem and make the site 100% available. I.e. the site is not blocked independently and for political reasons. [2] Such claims, at odds with the preferred narrative about “political crackdown” on “anti-corruption” hero Navalny are likely to be ignored by the Guardian. The claims on Meduza made apparently by an ex-volunteer with Navalny’s project are consistent with Navalny’s apparent strategy. The strategy appears to be to provoke and/or create the impression of a “crackdown” in order to whip up popular support.)

A Duma parliamentary commission this week accused Deutsche Welle of “justifying extremism” for its reporting on a blogger sentenced to five years in jail for saying that the children of police officers could be targeted in “snuff videos”.

A straightforward lie. The “blogger” is an activist [3]. In response to a question from a protester about what people should do with material they had which enabled them to identify police officers the activist replied that people would (“they will” according to one translation [4]) kidnap the children of police officers, kill them, film it, and post the videos back to the police officers. If an activist in the UK said something like that he would be arrested and would almost certainly be charged. One of the odd things about the way the Guardian does its anti-Russia propaganda is how it holds up as examples of “police state” and “political crackdown” actions which if they happened in the UK would be seen as perfectly normal, even to be praised and supported.

The overall reality appears to be that the Guardian “journalists” in Moscow simply see it as their job to copy and paste the press releases from the very small coterie of pro-Western (up to a point – but that is another story) opposition groups in Moscow, producing, as a result, what is essentially a made-up image of the political situation in Russia.

Notes

  1. https://www.rferl.org/a/navalny-video-medvedev-corruption-posted-goverment-websites/28541102.html
  2. https://meduza.io/en/news/2019/09/11/long-time-it-consultant-for-alexey-navalny-s-anti-corruption-foundation-quits-accusing-management-of-corruption
  3. RT (French)
  4. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-49563587 (Notice in passing how the BBC tries to spin this – reporting the quote initially out of context before supplying the context later and trying to claim that the poster was “triggered”. There is even a hint of a suggestion that the first post was a deliberate provocation. The BBC is usually amongst the last to believe in  claims about provocations and false flags e.g. in Syria – but not, it seems, when reporting on Russia).

 

 

 

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Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer