Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Russia: What Fools We Are

A quarter of a century after the end of the cold war, the “Russian threat” is unmistakably back. Vladimir Putin, Britain’s defence secretary Michael Fallon declares, is as great a danger to Europe as “Islamic State”. There may be no ideological confrontation, and Russia may be a shadow of its Soviet predecessor, but the anti-Russian drumbeat has now reached fever pitch.

And much more than in Soviet times, the campaign is personal. It’s all about Putin. The Russian president is an expansionist dictator who has launched a “shameless aggression”. He is the epitome of “political depravity”, “carving up” his neighbours as he crushes dissent at home, and routinely is compared to Hitler. Putin has now become a cartoon villain and Russia the target of almost uniformly belligerent propaganda across the western media. Anyone who questions the dominant narrative on Ukraine – from last year’s overthrow of the elected president and the role of Ukrainian far right to war crimes carried out by Kiev’s forces – is dismissed as a Kremlin dupe...

The demonisation of Putin as a 'homophobe' - or whatever we're told to hate him for this month - only serves imperialism.

Wake up!

PS Vladimir Putin is already the West’s public enemy number one. The British Government, in particular, has a long charge sheet against him, stretching from the Litvinenko polonium case to Russia’s role in the crisis in Ukraine today. Many observers jumped to the conclusion that the murder [of Boris Nemtsov] beneath his Kremlin windows was Putin’s perverse confessional “selfie”. But while the president might be ruthless, is he really foolish or brazen enough to stage the killing of a fallen rival from the Nineties with his office in the background?

Mark Almond, lecturer in Moder History, Oriel College, Oxford, Telegraph.

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